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Thursday, 26 July 1906

Senator GIVENS (Queensland) . - I wish to read to the Committee the section of the Constitution with regard to discriminations between the residents of different States. There are three or four sections dealing with the question of discrimination. But section 117 reads -

A subject of the Queen, resident in any State, shall not be subject in any other State to any disability or discrimination which would not be equally applicable to him if he were a subject of the Queen, resident in such other State.

Senator Playford - That relates to taxation.

Senator GIVENS - No j taxation is dealt with in a separate section, which" I am willing to quote if the Minister likes. Evidently the spirit of the Constitution is that every citizen of the Commonwealth, no matter what State he may reside in, shall enjoy every privilege which any other citizen may possess. If the society people of Sydney desire a Government House in that city, so that they may bask in the ViceRegal smiles and sun themselves in the ViceRegal presence, why should not the society people in the capital of every other State have an equal privilege?

Senator Findley - Does the honorable senator wish to saddle the Commonwealth with additional expenditure?

Senator GIVENS - I am not particularly concerned-

Senator Findley - Last session the honorable senator moved the reduction of the item for the upkeep of Government House, Sydney.

Senator GIVENS - I am not particularlyconcerned with providing facilities to allow any persons to bask in the Vice-Regal smiles or sun themselves in the Vice-Regal society. But I submit that if the people of one capital are to be afforded that opportunity at needless expense to the Commonwealth, then the people of every other capital should be afforded a similar opportunity.

Senator Turley - More expense.

Senator GIVENS - -That being so, and seeing that the Senate was especially created to safeguard State interests, we should be particularly careful that there is no discrimination between State and State, and that we do not accord to the residents of one State a needless privilege, which we are not prepared to accord to the residents of every other State. Of course, as Senator Findley has pointed out, it would probably mean more expense. I deplore unnecessary expense.

Senator Findley - Then why persist with the amendment?

Senator GIVENS - Because I would sooner be guilty of extravagant expenditure than be guilty of an injustice.

Senator DAWSON (QUEENSLAND) - Where is the injustice?

Senator GIVENS - Because it is proposed in the Bill to treat one State differently from every other State, and in that way to show an unfair and unjust discrimination between State and State, which is expressly forbidden by the Constitution.

Senator DAWSON (QUEENSLAND) - Surely the honorable senator does not think that Queensland is dying to salaam !

Senator GIVENS - No. It is an injurious discrimination between State and State which the Senate should not permit, and even if it .involved an additional outlay, I would prefer to spend a little more than to be guilty of an injustice.

Senator Col. NEILD(New South Wales) [9.50]. - If there was anything in the argument which Senator Givens has put forward, it would really mean, if carried to its logical conclusion, that there has been a breach of the Constitution, inasmuch as, in another place, there is a different number of representatives for each of the various States, and that the Postoffices in the States are not all of the same size, and have not the same number of lettercarriers. That only shows how absolutely silly the argument is. There is, however, no harm in adopting the amendment, because in the States referred to, I do not suppose for a moment that the Governments would find the accommodation which would be necessary to meet their obligations, supposing, of course, that the Vice-Regal residences were to be supplied on the same terms as the buildings offered by Victoria and New South Wales.

Senator DAWSON (QUEENSLAND) - The furniture in the Victorian Government House is about the meanest' I ever saw.

Senator Col NEILD - I was not referring to the furniture, but to the use of the buildings. I do not know that any Governor>General would be anxious 'to increase enormously his expenditure by trying to live for a couple of months per annum in each of the six States.

Senator Givens - Why should he increase it bv trying to live in two States at the same time?

Senator Col NEILD - As each of those two States provides two residences for its Governor, there is nothing unreasonable in the Commonwealth maintaining a similar line of action. Surely there is nothing unreasonable in supposing that one of the residences should be noi1 only in the oldest city in the Commonwealth, but in the chief city of the chief State of the Commonwealth.

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