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Friday, 27 July 1906

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - I am rather surprised at the attitude of the Minister, because I understand him to have insisted on the perfect safety of giving the Commonwealth such powers as may, under any circumstances, be requisite, leaving it to the good sense of the officers, under the control of Parliament, to see that the powers are not abused. The difficulty pointed out by Senator Symon - to which Senator Keating has not referred - is that it might be necessary to carry out a public purpose promptly, and, in order to do so in a case of emergency, the Government might resume the land by compulsory process. The mere fact of the notification in the Gazette places the land in the possession of the Government ; and it might be desirable to enter adjoining lands in order to erect preparatory works.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - That is the point.

Senator MILLEN - But under the Bill the Government would not be able to enter adjoining land until the actual work of carrying out the public purpose - it might be the erection of a battery, or any other building - was in progress on the land resumed by notification. It only requires a very slight measure of thought to see that, before any undertaking of the kind is started, there must be works, and tools, and other implements. But Senator Keating says, " No, we will start the erection of the building or the construction of the work - the fulfilment of the purpose - before we have the facilities for doing so."

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Before beginning the work, the Government might want to satisfy themselves that the land was suitable, and they would not be able to do so.

Senator MILLEN - Exactly ; they might not be able to commence the work until they had tested the adjoining land by making surveys and so forth. It seems to me that the Minister might accept the amendment, even if reluctantly-

Senator Keating - The honorable senator need not go any further; I will accept the amendment.

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