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Thursday, 13 September 1906

Senator PLAYFORD (South AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - Senator Dobson has expressed his surprise that I have not spoken to the amendment before the Committee. But it appeared to me, from the lengthy speeches which have been delivered, and the way in which the amendment was moved, that it has only been brought forward for the purpose of causing delay. Therefore, I was content to saynothing. But if Senator Dobson really wishes me to express -my opinion, I will do so. I do not agree with the amendment, and I will tell him why. In the first place, it says that the survey may be made only upon the formal consent of the South Australian Parliament being obtained. I reply that we have obtained from the South Australian Government all the consent that we require, and that is necessary. Secondly, it is unnecessary to insert Senator Givens' amendment, because if, after the Bill is passed, it is discovered that the consent of the South Australian Parliament is required, that consent will be obtained before a penny of the money is spent. We consider that the consent of the Premier of South. Australia is quite sufficient for our purposes ; but, if that should happen to be not the case, we shall have to go to the South Australian Parliament, in any event, and there is no necessity to provide for that in this measure.

Senator Dobson - What about Mr. Jenkins' letter?

Senator PLAYFORD - Why should we rake up things that are past? We have a definite promise from the present Premier of South Australia giving us the authority of his Government to make a survey. I contend that he has the power to give us that promise.

Senator styles -Another Premier next week may revoke it.

Senator PLAYFORD - I do not believe that there is the slightest fear of that. No South Australian Premier would ever think of revoking it.

Senator Dobson - What is the meaning of Mr. Price's stipulation that he shall be consulted as to the route?

Senator PLAYFORD - South Australia says very properly that before the construction of the line is determined upon, she must be consulted.

Senator Styles - The gauge should be fixed before operations are commenced.

Senator PLAYFORD - The survey does not depend upon the gauge. It does not matter from the point of view of taking levels whether the gauge is to be 3 ft. 6 in. or 4 ft. 8½ in. I do not intend to discuss the matter further, because I believe that the amendment is merely brought forward with one object, and that is to delay the passage of the Bill.

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