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Tuesday, 30 April 1968


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! There is no substance in the point of order. 1 have been following the honourable member's remarks closely. He is leading up to a discussion of the Bill.


Mr JEFF BATE - 1 distinctly heard the honourable member for Dawson say that the Government was inactive. This is a very serious allegation to be made by a person who was the Director of the Northern Division of the Department of National Development. He said the Government was inactive and he referred to northern development and the Northern Territory.


Dr Patterson - 1 was only quoting the honourable member for the Northern Territory.


Mr JEFF BATE - He is backing away from it slightly. He now says that he was quoting the honourable member for the Northern Territory. He found it necessary to quote the honourable member and he selected that little part from a very fine speech. The honourable member for Dawson is very important in the context of this debate because he was Director of the Northern Division of the Department of National Development and had at his disposal papers which were not available to other honourable members. The unfortunate honourable member for the Northern Territory has never seen these papers. Some day the honourable member for Dawson may show them to me. I would like to see them, because they will be important in relation to a feasibility study for development of the Northern Territory. This Bill will give full voting rights in this House to the member for the Northern Territory. Some members on this side of the House could be very indignant about the excerpt taken from the speech of the honourable member for the Northern Territory by the honourable member for Dawson in an attempt to establish that the Government had been inactive in the Territory. I am very sensitive about this allegation of inactivity there. Some honourable members on the Government side of the House, including the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Armstrong), the honourable member for Hume (Mr Pettitt) and the honourable member for Kennedy (Mr Katter) have been very active in this matter. The distinguished honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) also has been very active.


Mr Nixon - What about the Minister at the table?


Mr JEFF BATE - The Minister for the Interior, who is at the table, obtained his portfolio because he went with us on these trips. We think we have been rather roughly handled by the honourable member for Dawson, who was head of the Northern Division of the Department of National Development. Mr Deputy Speaker, 1 wish to reply, with respect to your ruling in this debate on a measure that will give the honourable member for the Northern Territory full voting rights in this chamber. We are charged by the honourable member for Dawson with having been inactive in respect of the north. If I may say so, a number of things have happened. The honourable member for Dawson may have seen them happen in his departmental work 1 do not think I am being unfair to him in any thing I am saying. I want to be courteous in this matter. The headquarters of the Ord River are in the Northern Territory. We have been able to spend about S60m on developing the Ord River region. A sum of $49m has been allocated for stage 2 of the project. God knows what the first stage of the project will cost, because the cost has been going up and up all the time. But the provision of this money has been due solely to the efforts of some backbenchers on this side of the Parliament. The Government has listened to its backbenchers. We have had no federal executive to block us in what we have been doing. We have had no-one outside the Parliament to tell us what to do. We can think matters out ourselves and put proposals to the Government. The waters of the tributaries of the Ord which flow north-west out of the Northern Territory will be stored by a dam in the mountains which will impound 200 square miles of water. In 1959 we found that in the Territory cattle were worth about £7 a head after a long, 3 months trek across the ranges. Backbenchers on this side of the chamber submitted a request to the Government. This was smiled upon by the then head of the Northern Division of the Department of National Development who is looking so intently at me at the moment. I hope the honourable member knows these things are true, because he, above all people, would have seen this happening. He was on the executive side of the administration. This is the honourable member who has said in this debate that the Government has been inactive in the Northern Territory. This was just a chance remark. If the honourable member would look through his files he would see that millions and millions of dollars have been spent on beef roads in the Northern Territory. What happened in regard to beef roads?


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member is sidetracking and getting right away from the subject of the Bill. I call the honourable member for the Northern Territory.







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