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Wednesday, 7 July 1915

Senator SENIOR (South Australia) . - I admit the force of Senator Newland's reasoning, that it is not advisable to have six different methods of administration in the Commonwealth, but it is ' necessary that we should have more than one centre of administration, even though that administration should be uniform in character. That is why I called attention to the fact that clause 6 makes no provision for a delegation of the powers of the Commissioner to any other person. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has been as silent a3 the Sphinx on the amendment. We have not been told whether the Government are prepared to accept it or not. The honorable senator appeared to think that 1 am opposed to clause 6, but that is not so. I regard it as a good- clause so far as it goes; but, in my opinion, it does not go far enough. I am in favour of such an amendment as has been suggested by Senator Gould. I think that it is necessary to make provision that the Governor-General in Council may appoint Deputy Commissioners. That appears to have been considered necessary in other cases, and it is equally necessary here.

Senator NEWLANDS (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - We should not give them co-ordinate powers with the Commissioner.

Senator SENIOR - The fact that a man is a Deputy Commissioner indicates that he is under the Commissioner. He should be appointed by the GovernorGeneral in Council, but should not have co-equal powers with the Commissioner.

Senator NEWLANDS (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Senator Gould has suggested that he should, and I am opposed to that.

Senator SENIOR - Each Deputy Commissioner will be practically a governor over a segment of the circle of administration, but subject to the Commissioner. The advantage of this system has been proved in connexion with the Post and Telegraph Act. First of all, there, is the general power given to the PostmasterGeneral, and our experience proves that it was necessary for the PostmasterGeneral to delegate some of his powers to Deputy Postmasters-General in the different States.

Senator NEWLANDS (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - But the Deputies have not the same power as the Post- master- General .

Senator SENIOR - No, and in this case the Deputy Commissioners, if appointed by the Commissioner, would only be, so to speak, clerks from his office. Something different to that is required to insure the smooth administration of the Act.

Senator Maughan - You could not call the Deputy Commissioners clerks from the head office.

Senator SENIOR - They would, of course, be rather more than clerks, because they would have certain powers. I would like to see them empowered to deal with all local matters that appertain to a district, irrespective of the Commissioner.

Senator NEWLANDS (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Would there not be a danger of interfering with the uniformity of administration?

Senator SENIOR - I think not.

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