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Wednesday, 13 December 1911

Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia) . - Regarding the subject of the proposed trip to the Northern Territory, introduced by Senator McColl-

Senator McColl - I did not introduce the subject.

Senator DE LARGIE - The honorable senator referred to it, and I wish to refer to his reference. I hope that the Government will grant facilities for members of this Parliament to visit the Territory which the Commonwealth has taken over. Unless some of us go there and see it for ourselves we shall know very little of its needs. Recently the Government gave members of this Parliament an opportunity of visiting Papua. A considerable number went ; others did not. If any one thinks that he can visit a country like Papua or the Northern Territory, as if he were going on a picnic, he is mistaken, and will certainly be disillusioned on trying the experiment.

Senator Fraser - It is no picnic.

Senator DE LARGIE - It certainly is not. I went to Papua, and I can say confidently that only a man in fairly robust health ought to go there. The trip involved severe walks into the interior. There are no railways there, and one who wishes to see the country has to take " shanks' pony." The Northern Territory is similarly circumstanced. It does not matter what the Age newspaper may say, or what Senator McColl, chiming in with the Age, may say. I hope that as many honorable senators as possible will join in any trip that may be organized to the Northern Territory, in order that they may be personally acquainted with it, and may know what its . requirements are. We shall thereby be better fitted to deal with any proposals that may be brought before the Senate. Who, may I ask, pays Senator McColl's expenses when he travels about this country ? Does he not use the railway pass provided by the Commonwealth? If he uses his pass when he is travelling for the public good, does he not also use it when he is travelling on private business?

Senator Fraser - He does not use it on private business.

Senator DE LARGIE - I know that he travels on his pass for that very object, and for him to join in with those critics who complain about others visiting parts of the Commonwealth for which we have to legislate is a piece of hypocrisy. I cannot sit here silently without uttering my protest against such criticism. I hope that honorable senators will not hesitate to accept any invitation which may come from the Government in regard to a visit to the Northern Territory. I have never been there, but if I can spare the time I shall be glad to go. I am anxious to learn what the country is like. I hope" that many of us will take an opportunity of going, no matter what the Age newspaper or Senator McColl may say about us.

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