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Friday, 27 July 1906

Mr DEAKIN (B all arat) (Minister of External Affairs) . - In moving -

That the House do now adjourn,

I may assure the honorable member for Gippsland that the Government will take care that the order of business shall not prevent the effective consideration of the recommendations of the Tariff Commission to which he referred, and of any others that can be dealt with in a reasonable time. The arrangements adopted so far have been due to the need for keeping the Senate fully employed, and, in order to concentrate attention on questions which may be related. For thatand no other reason the excise proposals were not proceeded with immediately. After the delivery of the Budget, they may, possibly, be dealt with in the light of the information conveyed by the Treasurer to better advantage than would have been the case had they been brought forward earlier.

Mr Fisher - What is the business for Tuesday ?

Mr DEAKIN - The Budget, and then the continuation of the debate on the second reading of the Bounties Bill. I have found a copy of the condition to which I referred last night as included in a British contract. I should have said that it was included in a draft contract, submitted to us by the British Government, which arrived just before the publication of our advertisement for tenders for the present mail service. I will read the condition, so that honorable members may see how closely it has been followed in article 36 of the proposed contract -

The Admiralty may at any time during the continuance of the contract, if they shall consider it necessary for the public interest, purchase any of the mail ships at a valuation, or charter the same exclusively for His Majesty's service, at a rate of hire to be agreed with the contractors or, failing agreement, to be settled by arbitration, and the contractors shall not sell any mail ship to any body or person other than the Admiralty without first giving the Admiralty a reasonable opportunity of purchasing the same.

The alterations which we have made are these. For "Admiralty" we substitute " Postmaster-General."

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - A fundamental difference.

Mr Kelly - The change shows the difference between the objects aimed at in the two contracts.

Mr DEAKIN - Both are postal contracts, but, while the Admiralty is to act for the British Government, the PostmasterGeneral is to act for this Government, as we have no Admiralty Department. The words " if they should consider it necessary for the public interest " were omitted, as, in our opinion, surplusage. We have also omitted the words " exclusively for His Majesty's Service " as unnecessary, and the words " body or," because under our Act the word " person " includes a body of persons.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The condition is the same as that in the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company's contract, which I read last night.

Mr DEAKIN - There are some differences, and this provision comes closer to our article 36 than any other, because we have adopted, 'as far as possible, its very words. The matter is of importance only as showing that we were correct in claiming to have followed a British precedent. This is the latest British precedent obtainable. It arrived towards the close of last year, and the only important change made by us in adopting its wording has been the substitu- tion of the Postmaster-General for the Admiralty as the authority who shall make any purchase. We have no Admiralty here, and had, therefore, to substitute some other authority. We chose the PostmasterGeneral as most appropriate.

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