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Wednesday, 9 November 1910
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Senator VARDON (South Australia) . - I should like to know exactly what this clause means. In clauseii of the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill we provided that -

The Government Resident of the Northern Territory, and all officers in the Public Service of the State of South Australia whose salaries are paid out of moneys appropriated by the Parliament of that State for the service of the Northern Territory, shall, by virtue of this Act, be transferred to the Public Service of the Commonwealth.

Under clause 12 of that measure provision was made for preserving the rights of officers transferred. In the circumstances, I wish to know whether Mr. Mitchell, the present Government Resident of the Nortnern Territory, will automatically become the Administrator of the Northern Territory under this Bill?

Senator Rae - God forbid !

Senator VARDON - We have provided, in clauseii of the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill, that officers of the Northern Territory, upon its being taken over by the Commonwealth, shall be transferred to the Public Service of the Commonwealth.

Senator McGregor - The word " shall " in that clause was left out, and the word "may" substituted for it.

Senator VARDON - I wish to know what will be the position of men at present in the service of the State of South Australia when the Northern Territory is taken over. Is it the intention to sacrifice any of them and appoint other persons in their places, or will they be retained in the positions they at present occupy? The matter is a serious one for a man like Mr. Mitchell, who has been appointed for a certain term. If, by the passing of this measure, he may be deprived of the position he now holds, and, perhaps, lose his place in the Public Service altogether-

Senator Givens - Has the administration of the Territory so far been a success ?

Senator VARDON - That is not the point.

Senator Givens - The honorable senator's point is that, even if it has been a failure, the man responsible for the failure shall be continued in his office.

Senator VARDON - There has been a number of Government Residents of the Northern Territory, and if its administration has been a failure, I do not know that we can lay it to the charge of any particular person who occupied that position.

Senator Guthrie - The Government Resident is appointed for a term.

Senator VARDON - That is exactly the position of Mr. Mitchell at the present time. I wish to know whether, under this Bill, his term will be cut short, or whether he will be allowed to retain his office as Administrator until the end of his term? I hold no brief for Mr. Mitchell, or any other official in the Northern Territory ; but we have passed a measure preserving their rights on the transfer of the Territory to the Commonwealth, and no injustice should be done to any of them. Per- haps the Vice-President of the Executive Council will explain the effect of the clause ?

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