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Thursday, 23 August 1906

Mr GLYNN (ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I should like to ask a further question of the Prime Minister, and, by way of explanation, I shall quote from the speech of the Prime Minister delivered upon the motion of the honorable member for Grey with reference to the transfer of the Northern Territory to the Commonwealths The Prime Minister is reported at page 1068 of Hansard, of 5th July last, as having stated -

If they come down with a practical proposal, we will with pleasure and promptness submit the matter to this House. What we want to get from them - if I may be pardoned for saying so, with every respect for their previous letters on the subject - is a reasonable offer. I look upon the proposal, directing us to construct a railway, and dictating conditions with regard to it, as not being such an offer as we ought to be asked consider.

He said further -

I trust that we shall soon be able to deal with a business question in a business-like manner.

Are we to infer from the answer of the Prime Minister that negotiations are pending upon the basis of some new offer, or some suggestion for a variation of the old offer made to the Prime Minister?

Mr DEAKIN - The references which the honorable and learned member has quite correctly quoted, relate to the offer last laid before this House. It was then, and is still, the desire of the Government to obtain an offer worthy of submission to this House. This involves an alteration in some respects of the offer previously submitted. That offer, as the honorable and learned member is aware, was based on a resolution carried in the South Australian Assembly. Since then, I have received a communication in writing from the South Australian Government directing my attention to the resolution, and certain other matters, and I have received the assent of my colleagues to a reply in which an attempt is made to bring the question to a more definite issue. In the- meantime, other communications have been passing, and as soon as the prospects are of a satisfactory character, a reply which I hope will bring matters to a definite issue will be communicated to the South Australian Government.

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