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Friday, 20 July 1906

Senator DRAKE (Queensland) .- I hope that the Honorary Minister, when he replies, will let us know whether it . is intendedby this clause to go further than does the present Act, or, in other words, to effect any new purpose, or give any power cot conferred in the present Act. We desire to know whether the Bill simply puts the powers of the original Act in a different form, or whether a change has been made. The more I study it. the more strongly I feel that this is a case in which it would have been better to have had an amending, instead of a repealing measure. On the surface, the number of alterations appear to be comparatively few, though they may be very important, for all I know. In any case, it would have been better to have had an amending Bill, so as to show exactly the alterations that are proposed. As I read clause 6, it simply provides for the acquisition of land which the Commonwealth, under the Act, has power to compulsorily resume with compensation. If that be so, the power seems to be the same as that conferred by the original Act ; but I agree withthe honorable senators who have preceded me, that the clause is most unfortunately drawn. If it be intended that the power shall be exercised in the way indicated, the intention could have been expressed in a much more agreeable manner. At present the clause has all the appearance of instructing the Executive of a State as to its duties.

Senator Best - The simplest way to overcome any reservation there may be in a local grant would be to declare that the land shall thereupon become Crown land... and belong to the Commonwealth.

Senator DRAKE - That is done in anotherpart of the Bill: and where, therefore, is the necessity! for clause 6 in its present form, which, as I say. appears to instruct the Executive of a State as to the State's powers over lands ? I think that thephraseologyoftheActof1901was much better. That Act confers on the Governor-General - which means ourselves -the Dower to enter into negotiations, and make a bargain with a State, and pro- vides that if terms cannot be arranged, the Commonwealth shall have power to compulsorily resume.

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