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Thursday, 23 August 1906

Senator DRAKE (Queensland) . - There is another point which strengthens Senator Millen's argument. Paragraph

xxxiii.   , of section 51 of the Constitution, gives us power to acquire, with the consent of a State, any railways of a State, on terms to be arranged between the Commonwealth and the State. Then paragraph

xxxiv.   gives us power with regard to railway construction and extension in any State with the consent of the State. There is power for the Commonwealth absolutely to acquire, and become the owner of railways.

Senator Pearce - With the consent of the State.

Senator DRAKE - Upon the argument advanced by Senator Best and the Government, the Commonwealth possessing those railways would have full power over them with respect to trade and commerce. Yet we find if we turn to section 98 of the Constitution, that there is a special provision dealing directly with trade and commerce, with navigation and shipping, and with railways the property of a State. Paragraph xxxii. of section 51, gives the Commonwealth control of railways for naval and military purposes. The Constitution includes a special section to provide that our powers with regard to trade and commerce shall be extended in. regard to those matters, showing how careful the framers of the Constitution were to express exactly what was meant by our trade and commerce powers. It seems to me to be perfectly clear that just as in regard to conciliation and arbitration, if we wish to know what powers we possess we must look to the paragraph dealing with the subject, so, if we want to know what powers we possess with regard to trade and commerce, we must look to paragraph 1, where we find that our power is to legislate with regard to trade and commerce with other countries and among the States.

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