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Wednesday, 25 July 1906

Senator HENDERSON (Western Australia) . - I had little intention of speaking on this question, but as so many honorable senators appear to desire to express their feelings on the subject of the preservation of public parks, I should like to add my testimony, and say that I am with those who believe that everything possible should be done to preserve the sacred rights of the people to their public parks. But we find a most pitiable condition of things related by Senators Drake and Guthrie. Senator Guthrie certainly made out a very good case why the Federal Parliament should take all necessary steps to save the people of Adelaide from the Parliament of South Australia.

Senator Guthrie - And the Commonwealth.

Senator HENDERSON - No, from the State Parliament. The Commonwealth has not yet interfered with the park lands of the people of Adelaide.

Senator Guthrie - The rifle ranges on the Port Adelaide recreation grounds.

Senator Playford - We took them over from the State.

Senator HENDERSON - In the case which Senator Drake put, he reiterated the fact that the Queensland Government are pillaging as fast as they can the whole of the public lands. He says that that is ample reason why we should go beyond the power granted to us bv the Constitution, and prevent this Parliament, by what he calls an ordinance of sacrifice, from ever taking possession of any of those lands. Be the reason ever so strong, and be the importance of the case ever so great, the Commonwealth, he says, must not lay hands upon such land at any cost. He would allow the State Government to go on taking the land at their own sweet will, and at the same time prevent the Federal Government from using a certain area for a very necessary purpose. I sympathize with every one who wishes to preserve the public lands, and am quite prepared to do everything possible to help in that direction.

I should be one of the last to support either a Government or a Parliament which would wantonly interfere with any public rights in park lands for recreative purposes. On that ground I must oppose the amendment, believing that this Parliament will always be quite as anxious to express the sentiment and the will of the people of Australia in respect of these sacred lands that we are speaking of as will any State Parliament.

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