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Wednesday, 18 July 1906


Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) . - I second the motion with pleasure, because I consider that to do otherwisethan is suggested in its second part would be to express a want df confidence in the ability of Australians, who are fitted, not only for this particular post, but for higher posts. I am certainly surprised" that a Government which professes to be representative of the Australian Party, and which is forming branches of an organization under that name throughout Australia, should, in the case of a very secondary position such as this, say that in Australia there is no person in whom they have sufficient confidence, and that therefore they must go, not only outside Australia, but to the Northern Hemisphere, to find a man who is fitted to fill the position.


Senator Mulcahy - Surely there is no one who is saying that now ?


Senator PEARCE - Practically, that is what is being said. The appointment of Sir William McGregor indicates that point of view, if it indicates anything.


Senator Millen - It does not say that there is no one here suited for the post, but that elsewhere there is a man who stands out with particular qualifications for the. post.


Senator PEARCE - If the Ministry admit that in Australia there are men suitable for the position, why do they go outside to make the appointment? Is it because they have a want of cofidence in Australians? Is it because they are afraid that, if an Australian were placed' in the position> he would fail, and that his administration would be fatal to the progress of Papua? If that is not so, then Ministers stand absolutely without a defence. They place themselves in a hypocritical position, and their battle-cry, " Australia for the Australians," is so much political hypocrisy - an empty phrase. If it means anything, it means that Australians should have a preference in regard to appointments for which they are suited. The Government say that we should give a preference to Australian manufacturers, not only over foreign manufacturers, but over British manufacturers. /If that is their view, then, in making any appointments, we should give a preference to Australian citizens, even over British citizens. That seems to be only logical. I admit that special Qualifications are required for the position of Lieutenant-Governor of Papua. I admit that we need to be very careful in the appointment of an individual, because he will be practically an autocrat. The occupant of the office will need to possess special qualifications, but I believe that within the Commonwealth there are many Australians who possess such qualifications as, for instance, sober judgment and a knowledge of the treatment of coloured races. Many Australians have been brought into touch with the coloured' races, and have shown their ability to deal successfully with them. Furthermore, there are many Australians who have that knowledge of tropical conditions which is necessary for this post. I think that, as Senator Higgs has said, the Government would strongly oppose any proposal to go outside Australia to make appointments to the High Court Bench. Yet it might be said that Ave have 'not in Australia lawyers who possess the necessary knowledge for dealing Avith the class of cases that formerly went to the Privy Council. It might, therefore, be argued that we should go to England to get the benefit of the decisions of the Privy Council, composed of lawyers who .have been specially trained to deal with this class of work.


Senator Millen - Sir William McGregor has been specially trained, and has administered the Possession of Papua Avith a great deal of ability.


Senator PEARCE - So have some of the lawyers on the Privy Council been specially trained to deal Avith Australian cases. They dealt with them 'for man\ years.


Senator Sir Josiah Symon - In some cases not satisfactorily.


Senator Millen - Who are likely to be the best judges of Australian cases, those who are living here, and are dealing with Australian cases every day, or those who only deal with them occasionally ?


Senator PEARCE - We hear much about Sir William McGregor's experience.


Senator Playford - There is no man in Australia who possesses the experience that Sif William McGregor has had. or the recognised ability which he has for the work.


Senator McGregor - And there never will be an Australian Avith that experience unless the Government give our own people a chance.


Senator PEARCE - Until Sir William McGregor dies, it appears Ave shall never have any one Avith his experience of Papua ; and when he dies Ave shall be in the same position as Ave are to-day - that is to say,

Ave shall then have to appoint an Australian and that Australian will have had no previous experience in governing Papua. We shall be no better off when Sir William McGregor dies, or retires, than Ave are to-day. Why then, does not the Government tackle the question now 7 It is said that Sir William

McGregor has all the necessary qualifications for the post. He wasfor some time Administrator of the Territory ; and, so far as concerns methods of dealing with the natives, and keeping them peaceful and in order, my reading teaches me that he was a thorough success. But so far as concerns the development of the Territory, I am not sure that we can say that Sir William McGregor was an unqualified success. I have yet to learn that during his term of office there was any great development of the Territory.


Senator Millen - The honorable senator will admit that he was not allowed to carry out the. suggestions which he made.


Senator PEARCE - I am not in a position to say that.


Senator Millen - The public records show that he was not allowed to give effect to many of his recommendations.


Senator PEARCE - I do know that during the same period the Possessions of foreign powers and the Malay States, under British rule, progressed, and were developed to a considerable degree, whereas the Territory of Papua showed no such development. Seeing that Sir William McGregor was under the control off the same Government as controlled the Malay States, it seems to me to be singular that he was not able to show some development at any rate. Furthermore, I have seen during the last week a letter from one of the principal storekeepers in Papua, in which reference is made in the most hostile terms to the suggested appointment of Sir William McGregor. He and others protest against the appointment.


Senator Walker - On what grounds ?


Senator PEARCE - They give the grounds of general dissatisfaction - because of Sir William McGregor's treatment of them, and his dealings with the white population generally. They express the hope that he will not receive the appointment. This letter is from a firm which has the principal storekeeping business in the most important settlements in Papua.


Senator Millen - I suppose that the honorable senator has a very fair suspicion of the reason for their protest.


Senator PEARCE - I have no suspicion. I only know what they say in their letter - that they are not satisfied with Sir William McGregor's treatment off them, and hope that he will not be reappointed. That is the statement which I have seen, and I repeat it for what it is worth.


Senator SirJosiah Symon - Has the letter been published?


Senator PEARCE - No; it has not. I believe that there is a number of Australians who, with that adaptability which most Australians have, and with the knowledge of tropical cultivation which some Australians possess, would be a thorough success in this position. There is a feeling that a democracy cannot carry on the work of colonization - that to have successful colonization you must have control by an autocracy, or some form of government very nearly approaching it. There is a tendency to sneer at the efforts of a democracy to deal with the coloured races, and with the work of expansion. What will be said of Australia - this young democracy - if, the first time she has the opportunity to fellow in the footsteps of the mother country, she has not the confidence which the mother country has always had in her sons? Men have been sent from the cold climate of England, with an absolute want of knowledge of tropical conditions, info the most tropical climates, where they have carried on the work of colonization and settlement. What will be said of Australia if, when this young democracy is intrusted with the work of colonization, she does not select one of her own sons, but secures the services of a man who was sent out from England when he was young, with absolutely no experience, and who proved himself, although at first devoid of experience, to be a success? I maintain that if Englishmen have been successful in governing tropical countries, and coloured races, Australians can do the same ; and any honorable senator who says that there are no Australians fitted for this position are placing their country in a secondary position, and have a much poorer opinion of their fellow countrymen than the English Government has of its people. I trust that the Government will do exactly what England has done in the past, and will declare that we can carry on the government of this settlement, that we can develop it, that we can treat the natives as they ought to be treated, making life tolerable for them, and at the same time improve the condition of the country - and that we can do all that with the aid of Australians and under Australian guidance. I trust that we shall declare cur opinion that we have men in this country who are wellfitted for this post.

Senator Sir JOSI AH SYMON (South Australia) [4.55]. - I should like, before this matter goes much further, to say a word or two about it, particularly as my honorable friend, Senator Higgs, did me the honour to make a quotation from a speech of mine, which seems also to have met with the approval of so distinguished a public man as the right honorable member for Swan, Sir John Forrest. I asked my honorable friend' whether the passage was quoted by Sir John Forrest approvingly, and he assured me that it was. That fact raised the already high estimate which I had of that right honorable gentleman. I do not withdraw or qualify one syllable of the language which my honorable friend quoted, nor do I in any way seek to weaken the sentiment which I then endeavoured to express - a sentiment which I still he-Id, perhaps more strongly than ever - that Australia should be. now that she has entered upon the path, of nationhood, self-sufficing and self-contained in the. largest and best sense, and in every way possible. I most strongly hold to that view still. I think I may say also that I respond to the feeling expressed by Senator Pearce in respect of the capacity of democracies. I do not think that any man has ever taken a line more strongly in favour of the great democratic Constitution which we possess, and of the power and capacity of a democracy, than I have done on all occasions, in season and out of season. But that is not exactly the whole question. I do myself believe that we have in Australia men of equal competence, I will say, to those in any other part of the world. But, in saying that, it seems to me that we cannot forget that in many walks of public life and government - in the control it may >;be, to come to this important instance, of what is really a Crown Colony, a coloured Possession, acquired in the way New Guinea has been - Australians have not had the opportunities of acquiring the special training which is necessary : and although they may have mental powers of a very high order, still they do hot present themselves as possessing immediately that degree of qualification which a Government exercising its responsibilities might think ought to exist before making an appointment. Mv objection to this motion does not rest upon the grounds that my honorable friends have dealt with ; because, so far as I understand the position, the Government has not raised the issue that there is no Australian qualified. The Government has not raised that issue in such a formas to entitle us to pronounce judgment one way or the other. Even if the Government had raised that issue, I should say that I objected to any motion, dealing with an appointment of this kind, before the appointment was made, in a form- which might embarrass the Government in selecting, not an Australian because 'he is an Australian, but the most suitable man for the post. That is what I say the Government ought to consider.


Senator Mulcahy - But other things being equal, giving the preference to an Australian.


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I will say a word about that in a moment. The Government ought to endeavour to obtain the most suitable man for the post. That is the great and grand condition. But in doing that, the Government should consider those who have had many years' experience of the kind of work to be done, not mere theorists, not persons who have - as I have done - visited India, or similar countries, and written reports upon them, and seen how the dark races are managed in those portions of the Empire, and have expressed sympathy with them, and so forth. I should not say- that because I have done those things, I am for that reason fit to be Governor-General of India. Of course, on that point the matter would not bear examination. This motion is anticipatory, and in the nature of a direction ; and I should be sorry to assent to any proposal of the kind that would embarrass this or any other Government. I cannot understand how a Government could tolerate a motion of the kind, much as I desire that resolutions of the Senate shall have the fullest possible .effect - how a Government, with any self-respect,, could accept such a direction before an appointment was made. Senator Pearce hasused some hard words, and I am not sure that some of his remarks mav not be justified asto the hypocritical position the Governmenttake up. I do not believe in the expression"Australia for the Australians," if itmeans that when we want a good public servant to fill a Judgeship or- any other office, we may not go outside the limits of the Commonwealth for him. The position of a Judge, however, is very different from that now under discussion, inasmuch asthose appointed to the judicial office havehad their special training in Australia. I am not saying whether the men thus trained7 are well or ill qualified, or whether or not better Judges could be obtained from outside Australia; but when they are selected they are not selected1 because they happen to be Australians, but because, by a long course of training, study, and experience, they are, or ought to be, competent to administer the laws with which they have been dealing during their whole lives. No one suggests that a suitable man to administer New Guinea might not be found in Australia, though I do not at present know where the Australian is who has had all the training and experience necessary to enable him to deal with the native races, and further the development of what we believe will be a great dependency of the 'Commonwealth. I understand that to constitute an " Australian," it is not necessary that a man shall have been born here ; I take it that within the terms of the motion a man would be eligible for this office if he had been in Australia or New Guinea for four or five years, and had during that time undergone the necessary training to make him acceptable. But there are other reasons I should like to advance against the motion. In the first place, I do not think it is proper for the Senate to give a direction which, before the making of the appointment, could not be accepted by any self-respecting Government. We might pass a motion excluding some man by name - that would be a very different matter, but to pass a motion, which amounts to a direction as to one particular qualification, is to offer what, as I say, no self-respecting Government could accept or act on for a moment, unless, as Senator Mulcahy suggested, the other qualifications of the gentleman appointed were equal. My second ground is that, bv assenting to a motion of this character, framed in vague, general rhetorical terms, we mav do an injustice to persons otherwise qualified for the position. One name has certainly been mentioned in this connexion ; and under the circumstances the motion is, in my opinion, most improper. We are indirectly sitting in judgment on, at any rate, one gentleman who, I may say, I have never seen to my knowledge, and whom I should not know from any other man in the wide world. I allude to Sir William McGregor. A third reason is that if the Government give any attention to the vague form of words used they mav be led astray, and appoint some one whom' we could not regard as competent. All these are very strong reasons why we should not at this stage deal with a vague indeterminate motion of the kind. I shall not refer to the first part of the motion, which I regard as merely preliminary to the second and important part. The second paragraph declares t'hat there ought to be appointed to the position " an Australian citizen in touch with the aspirations of the Commonwealth. ' '


Senator Mulcahy - Does not the first part of the motion also interfere with the action of the Government?


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Yes. but I think I am right in understanding from Senator Higgs that the first paragraph is really introductory, and I do not think it worth while troubling the Senate with arguments as to whether it should or should not be agreed to. The essence of the motion is in paragraph 2, and the first point which strikes me is that we are asking the Government to appoint a Lieutenant-Governor on one ground of qualification only - that he shall be "an Australian citizen in touch with the aspirations of the Commonwealth," whatever that may mean. Is there an honorable senator who can vote for that motion? It does not declare that the Lieutenant-Governor must have been born in Australia ; and I suppose that a residence of a year or two would qualify.


Senator Guthrie - He must be an Australian citizen,


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Quite so ; the Lieutenant-Governor need not be an Australian native, but he must be " an Australian citizen in touch with the aspirations of the Commonwealth." First of all, it would be wrong to appoint a man simply for that reason. He might be a person who would " play ducks and drakes " with New Guinea in a month.


Senator McGregor - Is it the aspiration of Australia to " play ducks and drakes " with anything?


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - The honorable senator knows as well as I do that the words in the motion are merely rhetorical. What are the " aspirations of the Commonwealth " ? Our aspiration is to be a great nation, and to do justice in New Guinea. Are we to say that Sir William McGregor would not do justice in New Guinea ?


Senator Guthrie - Or a Chinaman.


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Really, I think this question ought to be seriously dealt with. The Government are not suggesting that a Chinaman should be appointed.


Senator Guthrie - We do not know that.


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - The motion declares that honorable senators will be content if the Ministry appoint"an Australian citizen in touch with the aspirations of the Commonwealth," although the man appointed might possess none of the other qualities so indispensable to the position - none of the qualities necessary in a successful administrator of this Dependency.


Senator McGregor - The honorable senator is more solicitous for the Government than I haveeverknownhimtobebefore !


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Senator Pearce,in the course of his remarks, said very properly that there are many other qualifications necessary besides the special qualification of Australian citizenship. Where are those other qualifications referred to in the motion? Are we to ask the Government to appoint an "Australian citizen," although the latter may not be possessed of the many special qualifications that are necessary ? We have been told by Senator Pearce that the Lieutenant-Governor of New Guinea must be a man of sober judgment; and we may all agree as to that. Has it been suggested that there may be appointed a man who has not sobriety of judgment - a man possessed, for instance, of no judicial faculty, and not imbued with that common sense and fairness that are so indispensable? We all know that, as Senator Pearce says, the Administrator of New Guinea must have the capacity to deal with coloured races. In this connexion, capacity to deal withcoloured races does not merely mean the result of a visit 'paid' to the Dependency, or even of coming into contact, in a more or less intimate way, with such races. It implies the employment of a man who, if possible - though I do not say this can always be - may be judged and tested by his experience in this particular department of public affairs. It is one of the glories of British administration in India that many of the men who go from England seem to possess, by a kind of instinct, the power to successfully join in the government of that great Dependency.


Senator O'Keefe - Although they have not had previous experience?


Senator Pearce - What about the Viceroy of India ?


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - The Viceroy of India is in a very different position from that of the Lieutenant-Governor of New Guinea. The Indian Civil Service is the finest the world ever saw, and most of the members of that service begin at the bottom of the ladder. In the military branch of the service in India the rule is much the same, though there is an exception in the Commander-in-Chief, Lord Kitchener.


Senator Pearce - In India the Viceroy, whose position approximates to that of the Administrator in New Guinea, goes straight from England as a raw new-chum.


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Does the honorable senator say that the position of theViceroy approximates to that of a LieutenantGovernor of a small Crown Colony? The positions and duties are entirely different. In any case, the Viceroy, for intellect, and for knowledge and experience of public affairs, is generally one of the foremost men in the Empire, and the possession of those high qualities make up for his lack of training in detail.


Senator O'Keefe - Are no men in Australia likely to have similar capacity?


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - The Government have not stated that they will not appoint an Australian. The whole point of the motion is that the foundation of the qualification of the gentleman appointed is to be Australian citizenship.


Senator Mulcahy - If it were passed, the Government would not be able to go outside Australia for a LieutenantGovernor.


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - That is so; the motion, as framed, excludes every other person. The Government are not merely asked to appoint an Australian if they can get the right man here, but all except Australians are excluded. Although outside the qualification insisted on in the motion, there might be found men fitted by knowledge and experience in similar Dependencies, the Government are to exclude them from consideration. That is not the way to govern this Dependency. It will be a very bad omen and beginning if, in dealing with New Guinea, we first select a LieutenantGovernor simply on the ground that he is an Australian. Senator Higgs spoke of Sir William McGregor, and made remarks by way of disqualifying that gentleman. Senator Higgs referred to Sir William McGregor as nearing sixty years of age.


Senator Pearce - He is fifty-nine years of age.


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I should say that to have attained the age of fiftynine or sixty is not a disqualification in a man who has previously administered the Dependency, and has its affairs at his fingers' ends. But Senator Higgs went on to say that Sir William McGregor could not swim, and that he would have been drowned had he been in the whale-boat accident referred to. Really, the inability to swim does not appear to me to be a. disqualification in the Administrator of New Guinea.


Senator Higgs - The honorable senator is exaggerating. I referred to the whale boat accident merely as an incident in travelling.


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Quite so. I am sorry to discuss a name. Senator Walker, I think, interjected, " Why do you not put in the name of the eligible person?" My honorable friend opposite confines himself to discussing those who are to be excluded, but I think it would be only fair to the Senate that we should be able also to discuss the names of those who are to be included. That would make this a sensible motion.


Senator Higgs - The honorable and learned senator surely does not wish me to do as a member of the Senate once did, and refer to " My honorable and personal friend Senator Sir Richard Baker," " My honorable friend Senator Sir Josiah Symon," and so go through the members of the Senate as likely candidates for this position ?


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - No, we do not wish the honorable senator to do that. But will he name the one who stands preeminently out as the person to be included?


Senator McGregor - Senator Higgs does not say that Sir William McGregor is the only one to be excluded.


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Yes, the honorable senator says that Sir William McGregor is to be excluded.


Senator McGregor - Senator Higgs did not say that he is the only one to be excluded.


Senator Higgs - No.


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Senator Higgsgoes through a process of exhaustion, and, beginning with Sir William McGregor, he says that he, at any rate, is not fitted for the position, because he is fifty-nineor sixty years of age. Might we not be favoured with the name of the Australian gentleman " in touch with the aspirations of the Commonwealth," who is so peculiarly fitted for the position?


Senator O'Keefe - There might be halfadozen of them.


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - There might, and if there are, let us have their names. I am one of those who think that it would have been a good thing if the Senate had been given the power vested in the Senate of the United' States, which enables that body to exercise a veto at least upon appointments. I think that would have been an excellent thing for the Senate, and, therefore, if Senator Higgs seeks to introduce that principle, even in his way, I am one of those who should very much like an opportunity to discuss it. We should then have a tangible and sensible motion and a direction from the Senate that " So-and-so, an Australian in touch with the aspirations of the Commonwealth," should be appointed.


Senator Guthrie - State the salary, and we will give the honorable and learned senator a name.


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I do not know what the salary is to be.


Senator Higgs - It is to be £1,250 a year.


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - It is worth a good deal more It is really an idle thing for us to propose to deal with the matter in this way. If the intention is merely to enable us to say that a certain person is to be excluded - that Sir William McGregor is not eligible - it is neither fair nor just. If, on the other hand, it is intended, in some mysterious, indirect way, to pledge the Senate to the appointment of some one else, then I say that that person ought to be named, and we should have an opportunity to debate his proposed appointment.


Senator Guthrie - Why should we not do as we did in connexion with the appointment of the High Commissioner?


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - That was done in a different way. I was not here when Senator Higg's motion with respect to the appointment of the High Commissioner was debated, and I did not speak or vote upon it.


Senator Millen - I voted against it.


Senator Guthrie - Senator Symon agreed with it.


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I was not here when it was discussed. But in that motion, i think I am correct in saying that Senator Higgs left the choice to Parliament. The honorable senator does not adopt that course in the present motion. A man complying with the terms of this motion might, in respect of other qualifications, be the most incompetent man in Australia for such a position.


Senator Guthrie - Surely the Government would not appoint an incompetent man?


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - The Government are not like the Rontgen rays. They cannot see into a man's mind, and discover there his capacity for dealing with a particular and specific duty, which requires the possession of special qualifications.


Senator Guthrie - Neither can a Parliament.


Senator McGregor - The honorable and learned senator thinks that the Government could not find an Australian competent for the position.


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I do not know. I have not examined the matter.


Senator McGregor - The honorable and learned senator is saying that no Australian is competent.


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I have not said so. I say that the fact that a man is an Australian should not be the only qualification for such a position.


Senator McGregor - The honorable and learned senator will take good care that an Australian will not have a chance for the position.


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I will say that, quite apart from Sir William McGregor, whose name has been mentioned, this motion, if it were carried, would involve the dismissal, without a hearing, of the present Acting Administrator, Captain Barton. That ought not to be done. It would be unfair. If the Executive, in the exercise of their powers, and their responsibility, choose to say that that officer, who has had experience, is not qualified to be raised from the Acting Administratorship to the actual Lieutenant-Governorship, that is their business, and we could deal with such adetermination when the proper time arrived. I am a believer in promotion. I do not know Captain Barton, but I have criticised him in the Senate on information supplied in connexion, at any rate, with one matter brought forward by Senator Higgs, than whom no one is more astute in discovering whether any injustices, real or apparent, are taking place.


Senator Mulcahy - Would not Captain Parton be regarded as an Australian citizen?


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I was going to say that he should. He has been five or six years in the Territory, and has had considerable experience there. I do not know whether he was there in Sir William McGregor's time, but from his reports, some of which I have read, I know that he was there in Sir George LeHunte's time. He was there under the Acting Administrator Chief Justice Winter, and also under the unfortunate Judge Robinson. I am not discussing the relative claims of Sir William McGregor and Captain Barton; but if Sir William McGregor is sought for and is not available, or if he is not sought for, and Captain Barton is there, some substantial reason should be given to Parliament by the Government for passing him over and refusing him that just promotion to which, in my judgment, he is entitled. I have read some of his reports, and I entirely agree with Senator Higgs that there is a great deal of travelling to be done, and a great deal of arduous pioneering work, in connexion with the administration of the Territory. We require for the position an active man. I do not say thata man fifty-nine or sixty years of age is not sufficiently active, if in good health. Such a man might be quite active enough; but, whatever might be said on that score, I know from Captain Barton's reports, some of which I read only this morning, that that gentleman, in connexion with his magistracy, and subsequently, has shown that he is an active man, familiar with the matters with which the Administrator of the Territory must deal, and thoroughly familiar with the country and the natives. He is not above criticism, perhaps, but in. many respects is possessed of all the qualifications to which Senator Pearce has referred. I am not saying that he ought to be appointed, or that Sir William McGregor ought to be appointed. All I say is that " an Australian citizen in touch with the aspirations of the Commonwealth " should not be the sole qualification, and that, if we reduce the question of the appointment to Captain Barton, I say that he, a man who is really, in substance and in fact, an Australian citizen, and who has had experience in the very government to be administered, is to be preferred to an uninitiated individual, no matter to what extent his travels to the Northern Territory, or anywhere else, but merely amongst the natives, may have endowed him with a certain sympathy and with a great deal of instructive information, which do not, however, in themselves constitute qualification for actual .administration. We might find a dozen men in Australia qualified for the position, and, if so, one of them might be appointed ; but I do say that, unless some cogent reason to the contrary is shown, Ave should look first to those, if we can get them, who have already been concerned in the administration of the affairs of this particular country. This motion does not say who is to be appointed, except that it hampers the Government by insistence upon a single qualification ; but it does say inferentially who are not to be appointed, and for that reason I say that it is unfair. It would be unfair of us to do anything which would amount to directing the Government to dismiss Captain Barton without a hearing. That would not be British fair play. Sir William McGregor is not now here, but he is, I believe, the Governor .of Newfoundland. These remarks, therefore, do not apply to him. His qualifications are, I was going to say, so overwhelming, or, at all events, are so great, because of his previous successful administration tin New Guinea, that the negotiations of. the Government with him rest on a totally different foundation. But as to Captain Barton, I say that his claims should not be overlooked ; and, on the principle that Ave should promote a man already doing good work, his qualifications should be considered before he is discarded. If he is discarded, it is only British fair play that some sound reason should be given why he should not be appointed, and why he should be branded as incompetent, or unequal to the position he has filled so long. With these observations, strongly in. sympathy as I am with Senator Higgs' views as to Australian nationhood, and the opportunity whiCh every Australian is entitled to, and must have, to show the stuff that is in him. I am unable to support the motion. I am unable to support it for the reasons I have given., and chiefly because I do not regard, particularly in respect to appointments of this character, the mere fact that a man is an Australian, even although, in that vague rhetorical phrase used in the motion, he is supposed to be " in touch with the aspirations of the Com- monwealth," as the only qualification which would justify the appointment of a person to such an office. I think that that is not the only qualification, and Ave should not pass a motion, which might have the effect of doing, injustice either to those who are to be excluded, or of imposing upon New Guinea some gentleman who, although possessed of this particular qualification, may not possess others, I will not say more important, but quite as important, in the circumstances.







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