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Wednesday, 18 July 1906

Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales) . - This matter is of greater importance than some honorable senators seem to imagine. We require somebody to administer British New Guinea. The island does not belong entirely to Great Britain, but is divided amongst three nationalities, and the British power should be represented by a man with a full knowledge of international law. There is the German Possession in the north, and the Dutch Possession on the west : and in the present political condition of the world, we might easily, at any time, have trouble with Germany on the north or on the coast, German islands being not far away. The present is a time of great difficulty, there being more than one troublesome question unsettled between Great Britain and Germany. To bind ourselves not to accept the services of a man who, in the judgment of those most fitted to decide, is the best able to maintain the power of Great Britain, and the power of Australia - I imagine the two are the same - would surely be a great mistake. I ask honorable senators to pause before they pledge themselves to the recommendations in the motion. There is another, and a very strong, reason why honorable senators should hesitate. A proposal such as this, if carried by a snatch majority, would not be a fair representation of the opinion of the Senate.

Senator Findley - What does the honorable senator mean by a " snatch majority"? Senator PULSFORD. - I mean a majority on a division, when there are absent a number of honorable senators who would undoubtedly vote against the motion.

Senator Findley - There may be some honorable senators absent who would vote for the motion.

Senator PULSFORD - I have no hesitation in saying that the majority of the Senate are against the motion, which, under the circumstances, ought not to be pressed to a division. We have had a great responsibility handed over to us by the motherland ; and are we or the first occasion to declare that we shall not accept the assistance of any one from the old country - that we will choose a LieutenantGovernor, whether competent or otherwise, from Australia, and will risk all complications and dangers? I do not think that the Senate is prepared, and I am certain that Australia is not prepared, to indorse such a motion.

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