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Wednesday, 18 July 1906

Senator DE LARGIE - I have no fault to find' with the McGregor clan. I showed my appreciation of its qualities some years ago by marrying a McGregor; though at the same time I do not share the Caledonian proclivities that my honorable friend, Senator Stewart, has exhibited, fie has turned a complete somersault in regard to this question. If there is one member of this Senate who more than another has on all occasions stood out for giving a vote on the merits of a question, it is Senator Stewart. He is never tired of declaring that every question ought to be settled on its own merits.

Senator Playford - That is what he is doing now.

Senator DE LARGIE - He is doing the verv opposite. Senator Stewart tells us that he is quite in accord with the terms of the motion that Senator Higgs has moved - that, in fact, he is so much in accord with it that he intends to vote against it, simply because he met a man in North Queensland who had an objection to the Constitution which we have passed for Papua ! That is a remarkable point of view !

Senator Mulcahy - What Senator Stewart said was that we ought to get the best man for the position.

Senator DE LARGIE - That opinion has been expressed so often that there is no novelty in it. My answer is that the best possible man for the position is more likely to be found in Australia than elsewhere.

Senator Walker - That is a matter of opinion.

Senator DE LARGIE - I am satisfied that a man from the other side of the world cannot be as well acquainted with Australian sentiment as a man living in ' this country. The conditions that obtain in Australia are entirely different from those that obtain in the old country. A man brought from the official classes there has much to learn - or rather much to unlearn - before he gets in touch with Australian sentiment.

Senator Playford - No doubt, but in Sir William McGregor we shall have a man who has been here before, and knows all about us.

Senator Guthrie - He has never served under the Commonwealth.

Senator DE LARGIE - I am afraid that we shall not be able to avail ourselves of his assistance for very long, even if he is brought here. The best mar. we can have for this position is an Australian, young and vigorous, not .only in mind, but in body, and well able to stand the rigorous climate which we are always told obtains in those latitudes. It would be foolish - almost suicidal - to invite a man of Sir Willian McGregor's advanced age to come here to resume the Lieutenant-Governorship of

Papua. I should like to ask my honorable friend Senator Stewart if he thinks he is going to advance the cause of which he says he is in favour - because I understood him to be a supporter of the principle that, where an Australian shows capacity for filling an office, he should be appointed to it in preference to an outsider - if every time he meets a man from North Queensland who is opposed to something which we have done, he votes against a motion which seeks to advance that cause? He might as well vote against protection! for some Australian industry because our Federal Constitution is not all that some man in North Queensland thinks it ought to be.

Senator Stewart - Give us the real reason for all this flurry and humbug.

Senator DE LARGIE - The real reason is that we wish to appoint an Australian citizen to the Lieutenant-Governorship of Papua.

Senator Stewart - I could put a different complexion on all this talk.

Senator DE LARGIE - I hope that my honorable friend will give us the advantage of his opinion.

Senator Stewart - I could do it, and quickly, too.

Senator DE LARGIE - I hope that in doing it the honorable senator will not wander away to North Queensland, and give us the opinion of a man who does not like the New Guinea Constitution.

Senator Stewart - I should not run to Western Australia for an opinion on the subject, anyway.

Senator DE LARGIE - I am quite satisfied that the sentiment to which expression is given in this motion is one that no member of the Senate ought to be found voting against. The time has come when we should lay down the principle that Australians should be appointed to positions of this character ; and I hope that, when the vote is taken, honorable senators will stand by that principle, and that even Senator Stewart will forget the man he met in North Queensland who is not in favour of the New Guinea Constitution.

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