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Friday, 12 December 1913

Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) . - Of course, there may be many points in connexion with the policy of raising loans and of railway construction which, at an earlier stage of the session, it might be very appropriate to discuss at length. But we have very little time to do a lot of work, and I think, therefore, that we ought to vote rather than talk. I would point out to honorable senators that, before introducing, for the consideration of Parliament, Bills to authorize the construction of public works, it is the invariable custom to provide the necessary money for those works.

Senator Mullan - I have never heard of such a thing.

Senator McGREGOR - If the money were not available to construct the line from Pine Creek to the Katherine River, of what use would it be to introduce a Bill authorizing that work? We cannot cavil at the action of the Government, which is precisely the action which the late Government took under similar circumstances. To attempt to raise an argument upon that question is simply an attempt to split straws. As we have made up our 'minds on this matter, I think that we should get to a vote immediately. I ask honorable senators not to insist on the amendment, but to insist upon the amendment leaving out item No. 5.

Senator Lt.-ColonelO'LOGHLIN (South Australia) [3.181. - As I had not an opportunity of speaking on the amendment when it was previously before this Chamber, I desire to say a word or two upon it now. I trust that that amendment, which was carried in a fit of aberration, will be rejected. As far as I can understand, two objections were urged to the Government proposal when the Bill was last before us. The first was that the Bill authorizing the construction of the proposed railway had not then been submitted for our consideration, and the second was that freezing works had not been established in the Northern Territory. The first objection has now been removed - the Bill for the construction of the line from Pine Creek to the Katherine River is before the Senate - and as this Government will not remain in office for ever there is no reason why freezing works should not be established in the Territory by their successors. In those circumstances, I intend to support the motion of the Honorary Minister.

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