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Wednesday, 9 November 1910
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Senator CHATAWAY (Queensland) - - I am n°t particularly interested in preserving the positions and emoluments of some of the officers of the Northern Territory. When speaking a little time ago on this Bill, I pointed out that it makes no provision for anything in the nature of a Constitution for the Northern Territory. The Vice-President of the. Executive Council, in reply, said, and I did not dispute the fact, that I could not expect anything of that sort to be done in the few moments left to us of the present session. The honorable senator gave me to understand that this is to be regarded as a temporary measure; but, in this clause, I find that we are asked to appoint an Administrator of the Northern Territory for five years, and that if he behaves himself, he will retain that position for that term. In the measure dealing with the affairs of Papua, we provided for an Executive Council and a

Legislative Council, and a certain degree of local government for the white residents of that Territory. This clause reads - - (1.) The Governor-General may appoint an Administrator for the Territory.

Senator Guthrie - ' May."

Senator CHATAWAY - Is it contended that this means that the Governor-General will not appoint an Administrator? If he does, the following words of the clause will have effect. They are -

The Administrator shall be appointed by the Governor-General by Commission under the seal of the Commonwealth, and shall hold office, subject to good behaviour, for five years. (2.) The Administrator shall exercise and perform all powers and functions that belong to his office according to the tenor of his Commission -

Not as it might be altered later on, unless that were done by an Act of Parliament - and according to such instructions as are given to him by the Minister. (3.) The Governor-General may appoint, or may delegate to the Minister or the Administrator power to appoint, such officers as are necessary for the administration of "the Northern Territory Acceptance Act 1910 or this Act or for the proper government of the Territory.

I venture to say that this clause practically fixes the system on which the Northern Territory is to be administered for the next five years.

Senator McGregor - Not necessarily.

Senator CHATAWAY - Of course the Minister says, "Not necessarily," but, if so, why the reference to a term of five years ?

Senator McGregor - Because we could not get a man worth anything to take the position for a less term.

Senator CHATAWAY - Am I then to understand that the Government expect a man to take the job for five years, and propose to cut him off in the middle of the term ?

Senator McGregor - No.

Senator CHATAWAY - That is the only meaning that I can attach to the honorable senator's interjection. I say that this provision will tie us down to a form ot government for the Northern Territory for five years.

Senator McGregor - The honorable senator has only to look to the history of Papua to recognise the necessity of this provision.

Senator CHATAWAY - We passed a measure dealing with Papua some time ago, and it has not yet been altered. I say that the Government, in this clause, are laying down the principle upon which the

Territory is to be administered for the next five years. I am speaking in the interests of the Northern Territory, as well as in the interests of Australia generally, when I say that a greater degree of local self-government will be required in the Northern Territory than is being provided for. We were led to believe that this is merely a machinery Bill, but it appears that it is to decide the system of government for the next five years, unless the Government are prepared in the meantime to pension off the Administrator, or to buy him out of the billet it is proposed to offer him.

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