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Wednesday, 18 July 1906

Senator HENDERSON (Western Australia) . - From the discussion, it would appear that those who are opposing the motion desire to impute to its supporters an intention to fill a high and honorable position with a perfect nonentity. I think that that is the impression which the last speaker tried to convey to the Chamber. I intend to support the motion, but in doing so I am anxious that any high and honorable position which may fall within the gift of the Commonwealth shall be given to a man who is amply qualified in every respect to honorably adornit.

Senator Pulsford - Whether we have him or not?

Senator HENDERSON - We have the man.

Senator Lt Col Gould - Who is he?

Senator HENDERSON - Not the honorable senator who is interjecting.

Senator Lt Col Gould - Nor the honorable senator who is speaking.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Where have my honorable friends got the man shut up ?

Senator HENDERSON - We have suitable men in dozens, it may be in hundreds, of places within thearea of this great Commonwealth. Hitherto, if a man was required to do any great work, or to discharge any great responsibility, the only thing to be done was to send to the old country for him.

Senator McGregor - Get a fossil.

Senator HENDERSON - Yes, that practically is the usage which has fixed itself almost indelibly upon the minds of very many of our leading citizens. I do not read the motion, and I do not think that many persons read the motion, as it was interpreted for us by Senator Symon this afternoon. The sum total of his conclusions was that what we are seeking by the motion is that the LieutenantGovernor shall be a citizen of the Commonwealth in touch with Australian aspirations.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - That is all the motion says.

Senator HENDERSON - Surely honorable senators on the other side do not wish us to specify in a motion which has relation to an appointment here that the appointee shall be black, shall be 6 ft. 4½ in. high, shall weigh 16 stone 10 lbs., and shall be able to run, swim, and fight, if need be, on every occasion when he may be called upon ! Surely they do not require so much detail, when, after all, we are only trying to establish a principle which we regard as. right. I support the motion very largely on the ground that we, as a Commonwealth, have taken upon ourselves the responsibilities of colonization. Whenever high and honorable positions have to be filled in connexion therewith, I hold that Australian citizens should be appointed to them.

Senator Findley - We should follow the example of the Minister of Defence.

Senator HENDERSON - Yes. Senator Playford, as well as several honorable senators on the other side, have told us to-day that what we require is a man of great capacity and experience. Unless we obtain an experienced man we shall never be able to govern the Possession. But if men had to have experience for every walk of life before they enter into it, there would be no soldiers to go to the field of battle - and that would be a blessing ! - and there would be no senators; to come to this House.

Senator Walker - That would be a; blessing, too !

Senator HENDERSON - It would be a blessing, in many instances ! It is an evident fact that men can only gain experience by practice, and if we want to have experienced citizens in Australia who are able to govern as we colonize, we shall have to start somewhere. If men can never enter upon a task before they have acquired experience, we shall, I suppose, have to train up a race of Governors, as well as a race of Judges and bankers. Even then, asthe experienced men died out, we should, after all, have to enlist the services of those who were not experienced. I hold that this is a most opportune time for bringing forward this subject. I do not think that the carrying of the motion would be such, a very severe blow to the Government. Even if it were a little bit of a knock to them, it would not injure them much. Why should the members of the Government go on to the public platform, and put themselves forth as the champions of Australia for the Australians, and then, at the first opportunity, when they could show theirfaith in that principle, turn round and give the Australians a slap in the face, and tell them that they are not capable of doing anything in connexion with the government of New

Guinea- that their place is at home, bowing in quiet submission to a man brought from the hills of Scotland, or some other part of the British Dominion? That is not the position which I take up. I say nothing against either Sir William McGregor, or any other man who has "been doing such work as he has been doing. But I am one of those who believe that we have men in Western Australia, and in the ether States of this country, who will be equally competent to perform as great services to the Commonwealth when the opportunity is presented to them, as will either Sir William McGregor, or any other mar. who may have been as fortunate as he in rising to a high position.

Senator DELARGIE (Western Australia) \$.$\. - Since the leader of the Senate spoke this afternoon this question has been presented to us in a new aspect. "When Senator Playford was giving us his fiery oration, which he told us was altogether unprepared, he made the declaration that the Government had under consideration the appointment of Sir William McGregor to the position of Lieutenant-Governor of the Possession of Papua. While I agreed with all that he said about Sir William McGregor, and the fine services which that gentleman rendered in British New Guinea, nevertheless, if we remember his advanced age, and the fact that he has been residing for some years in Newfoundland - the climatic conditions of which are exactly the opposite of those which prevail in Papua - it will be realized that his appointment would be in the opinion of most people a very unfortunate one. His mental faculties may be as vigorous as ever, but it cannot be expected that a man or. the verge of sixty years of age can be at all well-fitted for life in the tropics, and such hard and vigorous work as he would be called upon to do in Papua. For these reasons I do not agree that Sir William McGregor's appointment would toe a suitable one under present circumstances.

Senator DAWSON (QUEENSLAND) - Any McGregor would be suitable at any acre.

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