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Friday, 3 November 1905

Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia) - I am very sorry the Government have not seen their way to stand by the great principle which was embodied in the Bill by the Senate when this measure was last before us. It seems to be evident that mere patch-work legislation, with no underlying principles, is all that is desired by this Government, and under the circumstances we should take care that the measures we pass thoroughly represent the opinion of the Senate.Seeing that the principle of nationalization has been rejected, our next best course is to see that the traffic is rendered as harmless as possible ; and if the amendment now submitted be carried it will prevent any misunderstanding on the question of compensation. The Government havealready declared themselves against compensation, and, therefore, there is no need to debate the proposed amendment at any length.

Senator PEARCE(Western Australia). - The amendment cannot be lightly dismissed. There is a danger that the licences in existence may become of great value, owing to the discovery of new gold-fields, and consequent fluctuations of population. The matter of compensation is governed by the local Ordinances, but we must remember that these Ordinances can be altered by those who issued them. True, this Parliament may disallow any Ordinance ; yet one may be drawn up in such a way as to alter the basis of the present licensing system, and create a good-will which does not at present exist. Under the circumstances it is advisable to make the position absolutely clear.

Senator PLAYFORD(South Australia - Minister of Defence). - I am assured by the Prime Minister that the licences in New Guinea are granted on the condition that there shall be no claim to compensation. I may have misunderstood the Prime Minister, but I gathered from him that this condition as to no compensation is set forth in the licences themselves ; and, if that be the case, there can be no harm in accepting the amendment submitted by Senator Stewart. Undoubtedly the intention of the Legislature is that no compensation shall be paid.

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