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Thursday, 14 June 1906
Page: 217

Sir WILLIAM, LYNE (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - I am quite prepared to accept that responsibility if Parliament will give me the power to do so. I am merely throwing out a suggestion that an addition might be made to the motion so that should it be demonstrated that the microbes are not a source of danger to animal life other than .rabbits, we need not stop at experiments, in a laboratory. If any further action is taken it is intended to conduct experiments upon Broughton Island. I regret very much that the New South Wales Government did nob select an island which was further distant from the mainland. It has been stated that Broughton Island is six or seven miles from the coast. I have been fishing in its vicinity often enough, and I know that if is only about a mile! from the coast.

Mr Hughes - What about Lord Howe Island ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - What would the settlers of that island say if the experiments were conducted! there?

Mr Hughes - The rabbits can almost swim -from the mainland to Broughton Island.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The other day when I was asked the distance between the mainland and Broughton Island, I said that it could not be more than a mile, or a mile and a half. Since then I have taken the trouble to ascertain the precise distance, and I find that it is about a mile . from the island to the first rocks on the coast, and a mile and a-half to the coast proper. In my judgment, the motion, in its present form, is too conclusive. I give the House the assurance that the Government will not relinquish possession of the microbes until we are absolutely satisfied, acting on the advice of Dr. Tidswell, that their dissemination will not be fraught with harm )to the community. Should that officer desire that we should get further advice we shall secure it.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What power has the Commonwealth to prevent Dr. Danysz from experimenting in a State, and propagating these microbes?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The Commonwealth Government has no power, .if Dr. Danysz once gets away with the microbes.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Suppose he propagates the pasteurella within a State?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - If he has not the microbes, how can he do that? I am speaking of this matter purely from a practical stand-point.. The Government can only do their best, and they are doing their best .in the interests of the country. As far as New South Wales is concerned, that State can deal with this matter only after it gets control of it. If we once relinquish our power I do not know that we can subsequently step in and interfere. The proposed experiments, however, will extend over a pretty long period before New South Wales will allow the microbes to be broadcasted. After the proclamation has been issued by the Minister, it has to lay upon the table of the New South Wales Parliament for thirty days before it can take effect. Everything, therefore, is pretty secure. In conclusion. I would again suggest to the honorable and learned member for West Sydney that he should add some words to his motion such as I have indicated, in order that we may go further should it be found that the microbes are not injurious to human or animal life other than rabbits.

Mr. DUGALDTHOMSON (North Sydney) [4.10J. - I quite appreciate the serious results which may follow the introduction of disease of any kind into the Commonwealth; but I also recognise the serious nature of the rabbit pest throughout Australia in connexion with the pastoral and agricultural .industries. In addition to the injury which might be wrought by the introduction of any disease if it passed from the rabbits to other animals, there is the further objection that it is very repugnant for us to do anything which is calculated to destroy enormous quantities of animal life. But in the case of rabbits the destruction is already going on. The effort is to kill them, generally by poisoning.

Mr Watson - In rather a painful way, I think, so far as poisoning is concerned.

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