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Thursday, 26 October 1905

Senator O'KEEFE (Tasmania) - I cannot see that the amendment will involve much increase in expenditure, considering that under the present law there must be one Commissioner. Assuming that something will have to be paid' by the Commonwealth Government to the State Government for services rendered, I do not think it will be a very large sum. Both Judge and SurveyorGeneral have to 'be paid by the State Government, and, after all, we should be only taking the money out of the one pocket and putting it into another; and therefore I do not think that the argument of the Minister on the score of expense is a very strong one. In my opinion, it does not matter whether we have one Commissioner or three, but I lean to the latter idea. If there is any possibility or probability of one Commissioner being subject to political influence, that possibility or probability is lessened when there are three Commissioners. I do not feel very keenly on, the question, but I am inclined to favour Senator Millen's amendment, in preference to the present provision in the Act. But the carrying of this amendment necessarily means a further amendment, which is really the vital alteration. I am not so sure as to the wisdom of the subsequent amendment, and, although I shall vote for the amendment now before us, I shall reserve the right to further consider the second proposal. I am rather doubtful as to' the wisdom of handing over the supreme power to these Commissioners without giving Parliament a voice in the matter. My own opinion isthat the second amendment will not be permitted to come before us, and yet the present amendment will, at least, lose considerable force if it is not followed by that other proposal.

Question - That sub-clause1 of the proposed new clause be inserted in the Bill - put.

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