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Wednesday, 9 November 1910
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Senator STEWART (Queensland) . - I intended to move the substitution of the word " Home " for " External."

Senator Needham - I have already given notice of my intention to do that.

Senator STEWART - When I made my previous remarks on this clause I was not aware of the existence of the proclamation of which we have since heard. Consequently, it did seem strange that the administration of a Department which obviously ought to be under the control of the Department of Home Affairs should have been placed in the hands of the Department of External Affairs.

Senator Givens - Another proclamation could settle the matter in the other way.

Senator STEWART - Yes, and I suppose that the insertion of a clause in this Bill would nullify that particular portion of the proclamation. In any case, I still adhere to the opinion that the Northern Territory should be administered by the Minister of Home Affairs. Matters pertaining to that Territory - from whatever point of view they may be regarded - are matters affecting the Commonwealth. Section in of the Constitution reads -

The Parliament of a State may surrender any part of the State to the Commonwealth ; and upon such surrender, and the acceptance thereof by the Commonwealth, such part of the State shall become subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Commonwealth.

Now, South Australia proposes to surrender a portion of her Territory to the Commonwealth. When she has done so that portion of South Australia known as the Northern Territory will become subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth will be the supreme authority in that portion of Australia. I do not know by what straining of terms honorable senators can endeavour to persuade us that a Territory which appertains to internal Australian affairs ought to be administered by the Minister of External Affairs. If there be anything in the contention of the VicePresident of the Executive Council that the Department of Home Affairs is largely a Works Department, my reply is that in the near future the Northern Territory will be the theatre of the largest works expenditure that we have yet witnessed under the Commonwealth Government. Railways will have to be built there, and developmental works of various kinds' undertaken. If the Department of Home Affairs is merely a Works Department, the Ministerial head of it will have a considerable share in the administration of the Territory. If Senator Needham has given notice of the amendment which he has outlined, I think that he ought to persist in it. If he will not do so, I will move it.

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