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Thursday, 10 June 1915


Mr ARCHIBALD (Hindmarsh) (Minister of Home Affairs) .- The request of the honorable member for Darling Downs is a strange cue to come from an ex-Minister, who should know even better than myself what the position is in regard to these Estimates. Practically the whole of the money which we are now voting has already been spent. I assure the Committee that the

Government have a policy for the development of the Northern Territory.


Mr Groom - The Minister might state it.


Mr ARCHIBALD - It does not occur to the honorable member that possibly the question about which he has asked has not been considered by the Cabinet. The Government will certainly redeem the promise made as to the construction of the north-south railway. It has been suggested that this is the time for carrying out the work; that we can borrow plenty of money from the British Government; and have, in fact, more than we know what to do with. This is the double-distilled trash that we generally get from the Opposition. During the past sixteen months we have laid practically 500 miles of railway. What did the last Administration do in regard to the east-west railway? Practically nothing. Its affairs were in a hopeless muddle.


Mr Groom - That is an incorrect statement, and the Minister knows it.


Mr ARCHIBALD - It is a correct statement, though it has nothing to do with the question. The question I was asked was in regard to a policy for the Northern Territory, and my answer is that it is not a fair question.


Sir John Forrest - That has nothing to do with the cast-west railway.


Mr ARCHIBALD - I was giving an illustration, and if the right honorable gentleman docs not wish me to enlarge upon it, I will not do so.


Sir John Forrest - I do not mind.


Mr ARCHIBALD - I dare say that some information will be wanted about the matter, and I can afford to let it go. As I am not particularly anxious to " stone-wall " my own Estimates, I would like them to be proceeded with. My answer to the inquiry of the honorable member for Darling Downs is that the question has not been considered by the Government, and that in the Estimates for the next financial year proposals will be made in regard to the north-south railway.

Mr. PAGE(Maranoa) [9.561.- At the beginning of these Estimates there is a little item regarding which I desire an explanation. The Home Affairs Department in one respect is in exactly the same position as the Defence Department. The secretaries to. these Departments are hun- dreds of miles away from the seat of learning in Melbourne, and they are still down on the Estimates as secretaries. I propose to move that the salary of the Secretary to the Home Affairs Department be struck out, because there is really no Secretary.


Mr Fenton - Some officer is drawing the salary.







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