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Wednesday, 14 September 1904

Mr FISHER (Wide Bay) - It has been pointed out by a number of residents of British New Guinea that the appointment of honorary magistrates in the Territory has not been so satisfactory as it might have been. Those who know the country well state that many of the diggers have been unable to secure the appointment of ' magistrates whom they consider worthy of selection and that the rule which in this respect usually prevails on the mainland, has hot been followed. Very strong representations have been made to myself and other honorable members that the honorary magistracy of the Territory has not been recruited in the most desirable way. The clause now before us would enable the Lieutenant-Governor to continue the practice which has prevailed in the Territory, and which does not meet with the approval of the white settlers, especially of the gold diggers. I suggest that if a man is nominated, at a large meeting of diggers, for appointment to the magistracy, that fact should be a strong recommendation to the Lieutenant-Governor. There should be no select class appointed to this office - an office which is very important in a country where so few honorary magistrates are to be found. It has been alleged, however, that appointments to the magistracy have been made solely from a class which is practically a privileged class. I am sure that we have no desire to see that practice continued, and as the complaint which I make comes from a source that I believe to be entirely reliable, I trust that it will receive consideration.

Mr REID - I promise the honorable member that I shall bring the remarks made by him under the notice of the pre sent Administrator, and that I shall obtain a report from him. I think that would be the most effective way to give effect to that which the honorable member desires.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 18 and 19 agreed to.

Clause 20 (Power to grant land).

Mr REID - This clause was inserted in the Bill, as introduced by the Barton Government, by the decision of an enormous majority of the House, and I do not propose to suggest that it be altered. As the Territory to which this Bill will apply is so new, I think that no harm will be done, certainly for some time to come, in giving effect to this clause.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 21 and 22 agreed to.

Clause 23 (Meetings of Executive Council).

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