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Thursday, 27 October 1904

Mr FISHER (Wide Bay) - There an; two schools of thought on this question. There are those who are entirely against Australia having anything to do with any lands except Australia; there are also others who think it to be the duty of Australia to secure all the adjacent islands. So far as I am concerned, I think the true policy is to get as many as possible of those islands under the command of Australia. I strongly expressthat opinion, because I think it is the only safe course, in view of the fact that the predominant partner must have control sooner or later. We could import a great many side issues into this discussion. We might be told to let the fresh air of individualism work out the salvation of those islands, without any pampering by subsidies or other means. I believe, however, that a subsidy would be well spent, and my only regret is that. Sydney should be so constantly clung to as the natural port. Brisbane is the natural port for those "islands, for very obvious reasons ; and as has been pointed out, Queensland was the first to see the necessity for obtaining control of them. Queensland annexed New Guinea when the home authorities had not the foresight to recognise the advantage of its possession.

Mr Watson - The balance of convenience is shown to be at Sydney, seeing that the shipping make their headquarters there.

Mr FISHER - That is because Sydney happens to be the great shipping centre. I do not object to Sydney getting the benefit, but it is just as well to point out that the representatives of New South Wales are just as ready to benefit Sydney as they are to deny any benefit to other parts of the Commonwealth.

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