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Friday, 12 December 1913

Senator RAE (New South Wales) . - I do not know any very great good or ill that is going to be accomplished by this Bill. It is like most of the measures we have had so far - not of any great vital importance. I was told by the Honorary Minister that I was raising a party issue, and I interjected that the political history he referred to was mainly a record of Ordinances. It was just an interjection dealing with the fact that the preamble, if it can be so termed, is a record of the way in which Norfolk Island has been bandied about from one power to another. I meant no party significance in my remark.

Senator Clemons - I will withdraw my observation, and apologize.

Senator RAE - I do not know that the preamble matters, as far as that goes, except, of course, that it gives a little bit of history.

Senator Turley - It gives information.

Senator Clemons - I thought it was an interesting explanation.

Senator RAE - I think that the " swapping " about of Norfolk Island had practically no effect on the islanders. They did not know the difference. If you could tow the island a little closer to Australia, there would be some practical good in annexing it. It strikes me that there is only one big point of difference between some honorable senators on this side and the Minister. I think it is regrettable that when the Senate saw fit to amend another Bill it should be abandoned. I do not know to what extent the Ministry are in earnest in bringing forward this measure, if they are not prepared to accept an amendment.

Senator McGregor - This Bill has come from another place, but the last Bill was originated here.

Senator RAE - I do not know that that makes any difference in effect, although it might in fact. We know that every measure has to pass both Houses before it can become a law. I would like to know whether the Government are serious in introducing this legislation, because it appears to me that unless they can get all their way to a letter they are prepared to throw it overboard.

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