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Thursday, 2 November 1905

Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales) - I think it wil'l be evident to every honorable senator that the vitally essential part of this measure is that relating to the administration. We may have a Bill which otherwise looks very well; but if the administration be left in a loose and unsatisfactory condition, we cannot expect to have satisfactory results. I must thoroughly indorse everything that Senator Millen has said as to the probably unsatisfactory condition in which Australian statistics will be placed if, instead of having one absolute, controlling, Statistical Department established, we have the Commonwealth depending upon six States, each of which has more or less varying views, and the Departments of which are more or less under the necessity of satisfying the Ministers of those various States. I am not sure whether it is not possible, even now, to so alter the Bill in Committee as to carry out our purpose. The Constitution has distinctly conferred upon the Commonwealth the power of taking the census and preparing statistics. I feel tolerably certain that if it were exercised prudently we> should find the States willing to work with us. I believe that if we were to announce our readiness to take over the State offices, and to make the best possible use of the State 'officers, and to act in a most friendly spirit, and in the way best calculated to promote not only Commonwealth, but State interests, we should not experience very much difficulty in obtaining their consent. Perhaps, by the omission of clause 6 we might achieve our object.

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