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Thursday, 1 October 1936


Senator COLLINGS - In view of the answer given to my question yesterday by the Minister for External Affairs regarding the development of the Barkly Tableland to the Gulf of Carpentaria, will the terms of any proposed agreement in that regard be submitted to Parliament for ratification, rejection or amendment, before it is signed on behalf of the Commonwealth? I submit that the answer furnished yesterday did not provide a reply to my question. I desire to know whether the Senate will have an opportunity to amend any such agreement before it is signed by the parties concerned.

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE.A hypothetical question of this nature is very difficult to answer. Whether the agreement will he submitted to the Parliament depends upon whether it involves any alteration of the law, or does something which is not already provided for under the law of the Northern Territory or the Commonwealth. Let me assure honorable senators generally that the Government has no desire to go behind the back of Parliament in this matter. Before any agreement of an important character is entered into with regard to the lands of the Northern Territory, Parliament will be fully advised. It can then say whether it considers the agreement to be such that it should be submitted to Parliament for ratification. It is conceivable that it will comply with the present law of the Commonwealth and the Northern Territory, and therefore will not require ratification by this Parliament.







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