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Thursday, 8 July 1926

Senator McLACHLAN (South Australia) . - Apparently some misunderstanding has arisen because the Government proposes to give to the commission certain powers that were not conferred upon it by the principal act. One additional power will be that of the construction of buildings for use as or in connexion with residences in the Territory. If the commission has proceeded to erect premises of that character, possibly it has acted irregularly and even illegally. But I understood Senator Needham to argue that the action of the commission in entering into a contract for the construction- of such buildings was a violation of sub-section 4 of section 14 of the principal act. All I can say is that the provisions of sub-section 4 have so far governed the position under the principal act, and that they will continue to govern it when that act is amended in the direction of granting to the commission the additional powers thab the bill proposes to confer upon it. Senator Needham's contention may be based on the former, but if he considers the provision violates sub-section 4, what he proposes will not have the desired effect. That portion of the bill is to give retrospective power to the commission as from the date when the original measure was passed. We are not interfering with tho limitations provided by sub-section 4. If the Attorney-General's Department advises that the commission has acted contrary to the provisions of the act, the matter will have to be dealt with by the Government or Parliament. We have to give the com mission the power to construct residences, but subject to the Public Works Committee Act.

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