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Friday, 25 June 1915

Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (Assistant Minister) . - While it is my own personal wish not to prevent any member saying what he desires to say on the Bill, I understood that, as the result of an inquiry by the Whips yesterday, it was mutually agreed that the Senate would adjourn over next "week, and put this Bill through to-day.

Senator Turley - The Minister made a statement on the matter.

Senator RUSSELL - I assure the honorable senator that we have nodesire toforce the measure through, but it is practically impossible to accept any suggestion for an adjournment* of the debate, because the Government want to start the administration of the Act from the beginning of the new financial year. All the dues are collected quarterly, and there would be delay if we adjourned the discussion on the Bill.

Senator Bakhap - May I ask the Minister this: Cannot the Government see their way clear to pay cash to such States as desire cash for the transferred lighthouses, instead of practically making the capital cost of the lighthouses a forced! loan from the States to the Commonwealth ?

Senator Turley - We do not want differential treatment in this matter.

Senator RUSSELL - I do not think we could ask that, seeing that three of the States have agreed upon the principle of the Bill.

Senator Bakhap - Which three?

Senator RUSSELL - New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. I understand also that there are not very great difficulties now in relation to the honorable senator's own State. The principle ought to be uniform in all theStates. I will ask honorable senators now not to hold the Bill up,and, as I promised Senator Keating, I will put the agreement in Hansard, for the information of honorable senators who may hot have read it before. The agreement is as follows : -

Indenture of agreement made the day of , 1013, in pursuance of theprovisions of section 5 of the Lighthouses Act 1911, of the Commonwealth of Australia, between His Excellency the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, acting with the advice of the Federal Executive Council (hereinafter referred to as the "GovernorGeneral") on the one part, and His Excellency the Governor of the State of acting with the advice of the Executive Council of the said State (hereinafter referred to as "the Governor") of the other part, whereby it is agreed as follows: -

1.   That the Commonwealth of Australia shall acquire from the State of the lighthouses and marine marks the property of the said State, more particularly described in the Schedule hereinunder written, which lighthouses and marine marks shall on and from a date tobe proclaimed by the GovernorGeneral be deemed to have become transferred to and vested in the said Commonwealth.

2.   That the Commonwealth of Australia shall compensate the said State, and the said State shall accept compensation, for the said lighthouses and marine marks at the times and in the manner in which and subject to the conditions under which compensation to be paid to the said State for properties which have become vested in the Commonwealth of Australia by virtue of section 85 (i) of the' Constitution of Australia in all respects as though the said lighthouses and marine marks had become vested in the Commonwealth of Australia under the said section of the Constitution.

3.   That the area of land, the buildings, the equipment, and the accessories which should be acquired by the Commonwealth of Australia as being incidental to each lighthouse or marine mark to be acquired by the Commonwealth of Australia as aforesaid, and the amount of compensation to be paid by the Commonwealth of Australia to the said State as hereinbefore provided be determined by a Board consisting of a representative appointed for that purpose by the Governor-General and a representative appointed for that purpose by the Governor. The Board in making its determination shall adopt and apply as far as the same shall be applicable the principles embodied in the resolutions adopted by the Conference of Commonwealth and State officers in respect of the valuation of transferred properties, which resolutions are appended to a report dated the 27th August, 1906, and addressed by the said Conference to the Honorable the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth and the Honorables the Premiers of the States of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania.

The determinations of the said Board shall be final and binding on the Commonwealth of Australia and on the said State.

4.   That the Governor will from time to time whenever so required by the Governor-General execute any instruments or assurances that in the opinion of the Governor-General may be necessary for the more effective granting or transferring to the Commonwealth of Australia of the said lighthouses and marine marks described in the said Schedule, and that pending the execution of such instruments or assurances (if any) the Governor grants to the Commonwealth of Australia full licence and authority to enter upon and take possession of and remain in possession of the said lighthouses and marine marks, and to act in relation thereto in all respects as if they were the absolute property of the Commonwealth.

Senator Bakhap - Are the marine authorities and Governments of the States in possession of a full knowledge of the provisions of the Bill ?

Senator RUSSELL - Yes; the Bill is a copy of an agreement submitted to them twelve months ago.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In Committee:

Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.

Clause 3 -

After section C of the Lighthouses Act 1911,. the following section is inserted - " 4. The mode of compensation to the State in respect of each lighthouse or marine mark acquired under this section shall be the payment in perpetuity of interest at the rate of three and one-half pounds per centum per annum on the amount of compensation so determined in respect of the lighthouse or marine mark so acquired."

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