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Thursday, 1 August 1912

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) . - I also join issue with the Minister upon this matter, and I entirely agree with Senator Lynch's contention. If we excise the words we are asked to eliminate, we shall at once put in the hands of the Minister the power of deciding where quarantine stations shall be located. In the past it has been the custom for the Minister to be guided by the expert in these matters. The latter is a practical man. I am sure that if Senator Findley were in charge of the Department to-morrow, he would not be in a position to entirely disregard the advice of the Director of Quarantine. To ignore the opinion of a man like Dr. Norris is, to my mind, a rather dangerous procedure. We ought not to hand over to the Minister of the day, who may not have a knowledge of these questions, full and com plete control. If we do, we shall be setting a bad example to other Departments. Today the Minister is guided by the advice of his expert officers ; and where the public health is at stake, surely he ought, at least, to have some advice from the Director of Quarantine, who, I presume, is an expert medical officer. Unless a more satisfactory explanation be forthcoming, I shall feel inclined to vote against the amendment.

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