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Friday, 26 July 1912

Senator McDOUGALL (New South Wales) . - During the debate on the Address-in-Reply, I referred to Senator Millen's strictures on some of the appointments made by the Government. The honorable senator particularly referred in this connexion to Mr. Clarke, the Director of Agriculture in the Northern Territory. I stated that I had travelled through some of the best lands in the Northern Territory with Mr. Clarke, and formed the opinion that he was a good man . for the position he holds, and that it was unfair for Senator Millen to make such statements as he did about a man he did not know, perhaps had never seen, and whom he had never taken the trouble to inquire about. Honorable senators will remember that some time ago a Scottish Commission of some of the best agriculturists of the Old Country were out here touring Australia. They, on their return to the Mother Country, issued a report of their experiences, in which they expressed a very different opinion of the capabilities of Mr. Clarke from that expressed by Senator Millen. Senator Millen has placed on record his opinion that Mr. Clarke is an inexperienced man, and I desire now to place on record the opinion of these well-known agricultural authorities. In the report which they have published, they say -

An attempt to acknowledge the kindness and helpfulness of the Australian people has been abandoned from the sheer impossibility of mentioning a tithe of those to whom the visitors owe happy experiences. Australia more than sustained her far-spread reputation for hospitality. An exception must be made in the case of Mr. W. H. Clarke, whose services throughout the whole tour were rendered available by instruction of the Minister of External

Affairs. Mr. Clarke's remarkable knowledge of agrarian conditions was much drawn upon. His exertions for the success of the Commission were beyond all praise.

These men commend Mr. Clarke as a man of wonderful experience, knowledge, and ability in dealing with land matters. I place their view on record to emphasize the unfairness of Senator Millen's criticism of a man of whose experience he knew nothing, and did not take the trouble to inquire about.

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