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Tuesday, 10 August 1926

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) . - It now appears that the large centres of population will not benefit under the agreement.

Senator Pearce - If they do not exceed 5,000 in population, they are included.

Senator NEEDHAM - The Minister knows that between Perth and Fremantle are suburbs, the population of which is more than 5,000, which should be embraced in the scheme.

Senator Pearce - Western Australia has accepted, this agreement.

Senator NEEDHAM - Such centres should receive consideration. I have no desire to delay the measure, but I ask that consideration of this clause be postponed.

Senator Crawford - That would hang up the bill for months.

Senator NEEDHAM - In the meantime, the Minister could get into touch with the States.

Senator Crawford - The States that have accepted it have made no complaint regarding this provision.

Senator NEEDHAM - I am under the impression that they do not appreciate its significance. Have the various State Governments had the agreement before them in the form in which it is now' presented to this committee?

Senator Pearce - Yes, word for word.

Senator NEEDHAM - For what period have they had it?

Senator Pearce - Ever since the conference. The schedule embodies the agree ment that has been signed by three State Governments, and they are now submitting it to their Parliaments for ratification.

Senator Crawford - The agreement was arrived at "after a most exhaustive discussion.

Senator NEEDHAM - Do I understand that the Premiers of Western Australia, Tasmania, and Queensland have signed the agreement in this form ?

Senator Pearce - Yes.

Senator NEEDHAM - If the Parliament of Western Australia decided, on looking at clause 7 of the agreement, to reject it, what would the position be?

Senator Pearce - The whole agreement would be rejected, so far as Western Australia was concerned.

Senator NEEDHAM - I take it, then, that the agreement has been signed by three of the States, and that the responsibility now rests with the State Parliaments.

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