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Wednesday, 9 November 1910
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Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - Throughout my life I have never entertained any serious objection to novel proposals, because they were always very interesting. But I notice that Senator Rae is full of them. He desires to conduct the government of the Commonwealth on uptodate and original lines. But if Parliament took the appointment of the Administrator into its own hands as he suggests, I would like to know what principles would guide it in determining the merits of the different applicants from whom a selection would have to be made? In the first place I presume that applications would have to be forwarded either to the President or Mr. Speaker, or to the Clerk of the Parliament. The credentials of all these applicants would have to be laid upon the table of the two Houses, so that its members might have access to them. After those credentials had been carefully read, we should have to resolve ourselves into a Committee for the purpose of selecting the most suitable man for the office. Parliament would probably appoint a Committee to make a recommendation. But under this clause the Minister will represent that Committee. Through the Governor-General, he will call for applications, and, after going thoroughly into the credentials of the various applicants, he will recommend that a certain man be appointed to the office. If the Ministry were to do anything shady in connexion with the appointment, Parliament would pounce upon them straight away. Hitherto, every officer of this description has been appointed by the Government, and I hope that practice will be observed in the future. The objection that the Administrator is to be appointed for five years, and that only a temporary form of government will be carried on in the Northern Territory during the whole of that term, is scarcely a reasonable one. Every honorable senator must know that as soon as possible a Constitution similar to that which has been granted to other Territories of the Commonwealth will be granted to the Northern Territory. But the Administrator, whoever he may be - and I hope that the best man will be appointed - will still be the head of the Executive, and the Executive will form a part of the constitutional government that we propose to grant to the Territory. Seeing that we require the services of an Administrator, is it not wise to straight away appoint the best man to that important position, and to begin to develop the Territory under his guidance and under that of Parliament as soon as possible? Then, when the time comes for us to grant a Constitution to the Territory, he will continue in office for the unexpired portion of his term. Indeed, if he be a good man, I hope that his services will be retained even after his full term has expired.

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