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Wednesday, 6 December 1905
Page: 6371

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - This is another proviso which will take out of the hands of the Government the administrative powers given them by the original Act.

Mr Crouch - In what part of the original Act is a similar power given?

Mr Deakin - There is no such specific power in the Act.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is so ; but the whole effect of the Act is. to be secured bv administration. We are now narrowing down that power -and placing it r entirely under the control of Parliament. The difficulties and dangers attending the adoption of this course have already been pointed out. Delicate matters have often to be adjusted in the course of negotiations between nations., and we have- always power to deal with a Ministry which acts contrary to the opinions of the House. I think that it will be much better to keep to the principle of the original measure, and to allow the Ministry a discretionary power to make arrangements in accordance with * the* spirit of the law. We should still be able to deal with a Ministry who,, in the exercise of their discretion, departed from the views of the Parliament. No intimation was given that this amendment would be accepted.

Mr Deakin - I said earlier in the afternoon that it would be.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The amendment moved by the Prime Minister in a previous clause indicated that he was prepared to accept the spirit of the first! amendment, of which notice had been given by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne. I . am not going to press this question to a division, but I think that the Ministry are proposing to relinquish a discretionary power which we considered it desirable under the original Act to vest in the Executive - -a power which is necessary in order to enable them to carry out delicate negotiations, with the Governments of other countries. A debate on such matters might often lead to the frustration of the object of this clause.

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