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Friday, 11 November 1910

Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) (Honorary Minister) . - Senator Givens asked for an assurance from me, as representing the Government in this matter, that there would be no ambiguity about the probate duties that would be collected in the Territory after the issue of the proclamation. Last night, in another place, the same question was raised, and the Acting Prime Minister gave an assurance that if it were found necessary the State Government of New South Wales would be directed to collect probate duties, the expense of collection would be deducted from the amount obtained, and the balance retained by the Commonwealth.

Senator Givens - The Commonwealth should not impose taxation in that way. If we believe in the imposition of probate duties we should impose them directly.

Senator FINDLEY - The honorablesenator must recognise that until some form of government is established there, the Territory will be administered by the Commonwealth Government. But until local machinery is provided, it may be extremely advisable for many reasons to have certain work there performed by the Government of New South Wales. We took that question into account when we were considering the Seat of Government Acceptance Bill. Section 6 of that measure makes provision for the matter which has been mentioned by Senator Givens.

Senator Givens - Why was not a similar provision inserted in the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill ?

Senator FINDLEY - When the Seat of Government Acceptance Bill was before this Chamber, the honorable senator had an opportunity to express his dissatisfaction with, and to vote against, any clause of it. But he assisted to secure its passage. Section 6 of the Seat of Government Acceptance Act provides -

1.   Subject to this Act, all laws in force in the Territory immediately before the proclaimed day shall, so far as applicable, continue in force until other provision is made.

2.   Where, by any law of the State in force in the Territory on the proclaimed day, any power or function is vested in the Governor of the State, or in any authority of the State, that power or function in relation to the Territoryshall be vested in and exercised or performed by the Governor-General, 01 the authority exercising similar powers and functions under the Commonwealth as the case requires, or as the Governor-

General directs : Provided that the GovernorGeneral may direct that any such power or function may be exercised or performed on behalf of the Commonwealth by the authority of the State in which it was previously vested ; and while that direction remains in force the authority of the State shall, in regard to the exercise or performance of that power or function, be deemed to be an authority ofthe Commonwealth.

Consequently we have power to direct the Government of New South Wales to collect probate duties in the Federal Territory, to deduct the cost of their collection, and to hand over the balance to the Commonwealth. On the other hand, we may, if we choose, create an authority of our own to collect those duties. I am assured by the Attorney-General that there is no doubt whatever that after the proclamation has been issued, probate duties collected within the Federal Territory will be the property of the Commonwealth.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In Committee :

Clauses 1 to 9 agreed to.

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