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Friday, 25 November 1910

Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - In answer to Senator Rae, I may say that these obligations will be assumed by the Commonwealth as soon as the proclamation is issued for the taking over of the Northern Territory, and it is to be issued on 1st January next. There is no payment to be made to South Australia. All that we do is to take over the obligations of South Australia in respect to the Territory from that date. It does not follow that these obligations will have to be met immediately the Territory is in possession of the Commonwealth, but we must ' make provision to meet the obligations for the current financial year. Senator Givens desires to know where the money is to come from. He has himself to-day referred to the buoyancy of the Customs revenue, so we may trust a little to that, and if the anticipations of our honorable friends opposite as to the revenue to be derived from the land tax are realized, we shall have a great deal more at our command than will be needed to meet the liabilities. The Government might have introduced a Bill providing for an advance to the Treasurer to meet these obligations, but we have always had the assurance of the South Australian Government that they have plenty of money, and if we require temporary assistance in connexion with this, or any other matter, it will be at our disposal.

Senator Givens - What a humiliating ' position for the Commonwealth.

Senator McGREGOR - I am not anticipating that the Commonwealth will be placed in that position, but as I know that the honorable senator is so persistent in trying to get to the very bottom of everything, I am explaining the conditions as they really exist. No member of the Senate need be under any alarm in connexion with this matter.

Bill read a first and second time.

Motion (by Senator McGregor) proposed -

That the sessional order relating to the suspension of the sittings be suspended to enable the sitting of the Senate to be continued beyond the hour of 6.30 p.m.

Senator CHATAWAY(Queensland) [6.30I - Before the motion is passed, perhaps the Vice-President of the Executive

Council will say whether in the course of the evening he will submit a motion for the printing of the correspondence in connexion with theVancouver mail service contract?

Senator McGregor - I intend to do that.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

In Committee:

Clause1 agreed to.

Clause 2 postponed.

Clause 3 agreed to.


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