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Wednesday, 25 July 1906

Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania) .- Before the amendment is put I should like to draw attention to the fact that the question whether we should have a separate Bill, or a clear division in this Bill, dealing with the acquisition of land from a State, may very properly be considered to arise here. This is the first clause in which I have noticed that the word " owner " is used. The use of that word at once brings before us the question whether we ought not to have a separate Bill dealing with the acquisition of the land of a State. It is my intention to move in that direction ; but as the word " owner ' ' is here used, and as that word expressedly includes a State, I think it would be appropriate for the Minister to say what he intends to do. While I do not wish to embarrass him in dealing with this measure, I think that even now an attempt should be made to divide it into two parts, even if it is determined to deal with the whole matter in one Bill. We should have one part dealing separately and distinctly with the case of land to be acquired from a State. I cannot help repeating that, in common courtesy, the very least we can do to a State from which we take land is to make it perfectly clear what the provisions of our law are, and that we do not treat a State as an ordinary private individual. I should like the Minister to express his view as to whether he thinks it advisable to divide the Bill into two parts. I should prefer to have two Bills, and T think we ought to have them. But if that cannot be done, we should, at any rate, devote one part of the Bill entirely and exclusively to the acquisition of land from the States.

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