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Friday, 3 November 1905

Senator KEATING (Tasmania) (Honorary Minister) . - Acting on the suggestion made by Senator Stewart I have re-draftec the amendment, which should, I think be inserted after paragraph 2, wherein i is provided that a licence may be lostby direct abolition or by a reduction inthe number. The words which I suggest should be added are - but so that no compensation shall be payable in respect of the loss or abolition of any licence hereunder.

Senator Stewart - I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment (by Senator Stewart) agreed to -

That sub-clause 2 of the House of Representatives' amendment be amended by adding the following words : - " but so that no compensation shall be payable in respect of the loss or abolition of any licence hereunder."

Senator GIVENS(Queensland)'. - I move -

That the House of Representatives' amendment be amended by the insertion of the following new sub-clause : - "6a. Within four years from the proclamation' of this Act the importation and sale of intoxicating liquor shall be made a Government monopoly."

I belL-ve that one of the chief reasons why the amendment inserted by the Senate last year was not acceptable to another place was that the change proposed from private ownership of hotels, and the right to sell spirituous liquors, to a system of Government ownership and control, to come into force immediately after the passing of the Bill, was considered too sudden. The Government were not prepared at such short notice to adopt so radical a change of policy.

Senator O'Keefe - Is there any constitutional difficulty in the way of the amendment ?

Senator GIVENS - No. As a Commonwealth we can do as we please in New Guinea. There are no States rights to be considered, and we have complete control 1 of the Territory, without any limitation of our powers of government. The amendment involves an important principle, which received the assent of the Senate last year. I have been told that it is desired that the Bill should be put through this session, and therefore I might very well permit it to go, and have an amending Bill introduced next year to carry out what I and others desire. But if there is any necessity for these amendments, they, should be made now, before the Bill is passed. We have no guarantee that any consideration will be given to the matter next session.

Senator de Largie - Why put off till to-morrow what we can do to-day ?

Senator Pearce - Can we do this today ?

Senator GIVENS - I intend to try;, and if honorable senators do not go back upon the principles to which they assented last year, we can do this to-day. I believe that many honorable members in another place will be prepared to accept my amendment, and it is therefore futile to> try to dragoon members of the Committee by saying that, if these amendments are made, we will lose the Bill. If the Government are in earnest in the matter, we run no risk of losing the Bill. I ask the Committee to_ give effect to a principle which received the assent of the Senate last year, and to adopt the only method by which we shall be able to effectually safeguard the interests of the natives of New Guinea, and prevent them from being demoralized.

Senator PLAYFORD(South Australia, - Minister of Defence). - When we sent the Bill back to the House of Representatives last year, we did so with a provision, for Government control. The other House refused to accept our amendment, and to send the Bill back to them again with the same proposition in it would be simply to again court defeat for our proposal. lt seems to me that it would be almost an insult to the other branch of the Legislature,, after they have offered a very fair compromise, to insist upon the retention of aclause to which they have already objected.

Senator PEARCE(Western Australia). - I am not greatly concerned about the feelings of honorable members in another place in this matter, but I am concerned' about getting some sort of a Constitution for New Guinea. Senator Givens has made no secret of the fact that he would prefer to see the Bill dropped rather than that it should be passed without a provision for the representation of the white people of New Guinea on the Executive Council. The honorable senator is taking the mosteffective course to attain that end by submitting this amendment.

Senator Givens - T submit it on its merits.

Senator PEARCE - If we desired to emphasize our views with respect to State control of the liquor traffic in New Guinea, we should have objected altogether to the amendment proposed by the House of Representatives'. Whilst I still believe that State control- would be the best solution of the difficulty, I am prepared to ac- cept the compromise offered by the House of Representatives, in order that a Constitution may be provided for New Guinea. If the Bill is passed now, there will be nothing to prevent the introduction of a Bill next session to deal with the special subjects of State control of the liquor traffic and the representation of the white people of the Territory. I have given this explanation because I propose to vote against the amendment, although I am not opposed to its principle, and I do so because I desire to see trie Bill placed on. the statute-book.

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