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Thursday, 11 December 1930

Senator DALY - I do not say that offensively. The Government, wisely or unwisely, desires to set up some form of advisory council.

Senator GREENE (NEW SOUTH WALES) - It was only an afterthought.

Senator DALY - It may be an afterthought on the part of the Opposition that there should not be an advisory council.

Senator McLachlan - The appointment of a council was not the Government's thought at all.

Senator DALY - The Government accepted, in another place, a certain scheme by which it can give representation to the people, and at the same time save the taxpayers £8,000 per annum.

Senator Herbert Hays - Why limit the saving to £8,000. Why not save £9,000?

Senator DALY - If the Government could effect a saving of £8,000 in connexion with every project, it would be unnecessary to impose additional taxation. I believe the Government is doing remarkably well inproposing to save that amount in this case, and honorable senators should not quarrel over its action. In the circumstances there should be no objection to the appointment of an advisory council, and to giving the Government an opportunity to consult and use that council. I am not so much concerned as to how Parliament limits that body in its expenditure, but I strongly urge that the Senate should not eliminate the provision for it.

Senator McLachlan - The powers of the council would disappear altogether if further restricted.

Senator DALY - That is one of the troubles to which a Minister who has a minority has to submit. One section of the majority claim that the council has no power, while another says that its powers are so wide that it should be cut out altogether, in order to save another £1,000 a year. I recognize the position in which I am placed. I have, as it were, to beg my bread from the Opposition. There is no doubt that honorable senators are most generous in giving me what I want, and on this occasion I urge them not to reject the appointment of an advisory council.

Senator GREENE (NEW SOUTH WALES) - On this occasion the Opposition is giving the Minister more than he wants.

Senator DALY - No, it would be saving £8,000 to the taxpayers of Australia, and giving to the people of the Northern Territory a certain form of representation.

Senator McLachlan - The Honorary Minister (Senator Barnes) said a little while ago that the £8,000 will not be saved, as it will be expended in developing the territory.

Senator DALY - Does the honorable senator suggest that, if the Government could profitably spend £8,000 in the territory, that would not be a saving to the taxpayers of the community? The honorable senator knows that it is not a question of the money that we borrow, hut of the way in which we spend it. I have listened to many a lecture by Senator Colebatch on that point. I entirely agree with Senator McLachlan that if it. is the. intention of the Senate not to countenance the appointment of a council of any kind, it would be better to decide the issue immediately and not further waste the time ofthe Opposition or of the Government.

SenatorRAE (New South Wales) [10.13]. - I trust that honorable senators will not reject the proposal to elect an advisory council. Senator Herbert Hays said that my remarks were worse than stupid.

Senator Herbert Hays - I didnot say that. I referred to the bill.

SenatorRAE. The honorable senator said something that meant precisely what I have indicated. He particularly directed himself to an exposition of the opportunities that such a council would have to ventilate the grievances of extremists Some people have stigmatized the people of Darwin as being almost " untouchables ". They are entitled to that opinion. This bill concerns the inhabitants of Darwin only indirectly. It particularly concerns the settlers of the Northern Territory, and provides thai that area shall be divided into four electorates, each of which shall elect one member to the advisory council. It is but fair that these pioneers, who have been referred to as the real men of the community, should have an opportunity to state their pressing needs to someone who can voice them to a council which can pass them on to the Government.

Senator Herbert Hays -Is there any evidence that the settlers want such a council as this?

SenatorRAE. - I spoke to Mr. Nelson, who represents the Northern Territory in another place, and he said that, while the proposal was not perfect, it was a great advance on anything previously formulated for the administration of the territory. If that is his view, we should accept it.

Senator Carroll - He is not the only authority.

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