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Tuesday, 10 August 1926


The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon J Newlands (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The honorable senator must confine his remarks to the bill.


Senator FINDLEY - I intend to do so. This bill relates to roads. Is not the construction of roads in the Northern Territory a necessary work? Should not the money which the Government apparently has to offer to the States for road construction and developmental purposes be spent in the Northern Territory? The Government has disposed of some of its surplus moneys by assisting the States in purchasing wire netting. It is now offering to aid the States in road construction. I agree with Senator Barwell that if the Commonwealth Government can constitutionally assist them in roadmaking, there is nothing to prevent it rendering financial assistance in the matter of educational facilities. The schools in Victoria, for instance, are overcrowded, and that is true, also, I daresay of other States.

If the Government can constitutionally assist the State Governments in this direction, it can aid them in that and many others. This Government has set out on the road to unification, and if its political life is sufficiently long, it will, undoubtedly, reach its objective.


Senator Crawford - Is not unification one of the objectives of the Labour party ?


Senator FINDLEY - Yes, but the members of the Labour party tell the people clearly where they stand, whereas this Government speaks only of cooperation and co-ordination of effort with the States. What coordination is there between the Commonwealth Government and the States in connexion with this proposition? In the first place, a majority of the States favoured the scheme until a certain proposition ' was put forward. I know the difficulties which beset the people, particularly that section which is settled in the more remote parts of the Commonwealth. If it be true that the Government proposes to help the States financially in the construction of roads by imposing a special tax for the purpose, I shall not support it. To specially tax the users of roads is an antediluvian proposal; in this instance, however, it is not intended to tax all the users of roads. If the' statement published in the newspapers is true, that an additional tax is to be permanently imposed for this purpose, we are going back to the days of the toll-gates.


Senator H Hays - Every motor vehicle owner has at present to payspecial taxes in certain States.


Senator FINDLEY - Those taxes are not imposed by the Commonwealth.


Senator McLachlan - But the principle is the same.


Senator FINDLEY - I am not discussing the actions of other authorities. If a tax is being imposed for this specific purpose, and if, as anticipated, a measure embodying such a proposal comes before the Senate, I shall oppose it.

Sitting suspended from 6.S0 to 8 p.m.







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