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Thursday, 26 July 1906

Mr ISAACS (Indi) (Attorney-General) . - If the argument of the honorable and learned member for Corinella is worth anything, the substitution of the words he proposes would make no difference whatever. The honorable and learned member has been arguing for the last few minutes that, although the words used in the English contract are "for the public interest," the provision is1 limited to defence purposes.

Mr McCay - I do not say that it depends solely on the word "Admiralty." It depends on the whole form of the third schedule.

Mr ISAACS - If the words "for' the public interest," when used in conjunction with the Admiralty, are limited to defence purposes, the honorable and learned member would argue that where we have the Minister of Defence connected with the public interest the same result must follow. Does the honorable and learned member make a proposal merely to have a verbal alteration with no distinction ?

Mr Kelly - Then why oppose the amendment ?

Mr ISAACS - I should like to point out what result would follow if the honorable and learned member's argument were good. It is provided that the PostmasterGeneral may, during the continuance of the contract, purchase any or all of the mail steamers at a valuation. Does the honorable and learned member mean to say that we only give the power to the Government to purchase the mail ships for postal purposes? If the honorable and learned member's argument is worth anything, it means that we could not purchase the vessels for the purposes of defence. It would lead to the conclusion that if we adopted the present proposed contract we could purchase only through the PostmasterGeneral for mail purposes.

Mr McCay - I never said that.

Mr ISAACS - If the honorable and learned member now admits, as he is forced to admit, that the Postmaster-General, having power to purchase the mail ships, may purchase them for defence purposes-

Mr McCay - For any purpose.

Mr ISAACS - If the argument be sound, why cannot, the Admiralty in England purchase the vessels for mail purposes? I think I can leave the matter there.

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