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Wednesday, 16 December 1914

Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia) . - As this is merely a machinery measure, it is necessary to say but very little on the second reading. But I believe that the point raised by Senator Keating is one which is worthy of some consideration.

The PRESIDENT - It would be if it were relevant to the Bill.

Senator DE LARGIE - I think it has a great deal to do with this Bill, inasmuch as Senator Keating contends that the statement read bv Senator Pearce was submitted as an explanation of the measure, and that might have a considerable bearing upon the interpretation of its provisions by a Court.

Senator Russell - The statement comprised only a few rough notes.

The PRESIDENT - I point out to Senator de Largie that I did not permit either Senator Keating or Senator Findley to pursue that line of argument. I have ruled that it is not in order. There is a proper course bv which the honorable senator may overcome my ruling if he so desires. Having prevented other honorable senators from pursuing that line of argument, I cannot permit him to proceed, unless he submits a motion disagreeing with my ruling, and that motion is confirmed by the Senate.

Senator DE LARGIE - I have no desire to dispute your ruling, sir, but when information is being sought from the honorable senator who happens to be addressing the Chamber, and he has no objection to supplying it, it comes as a surprise to me that you, sir, should jump in and prevent him giving it. That is a somewhat new attitude for the President to take up. It is only matters such as that raised by Senator Keating which we can debate upon the motion for the second reading of this Bill. That honorable senator raised a very interesting point; and, as one of the few legal members of the Senate, his contention should carry considerable weight. For my own part, however, I think that there is very little in it. It has received a good deal more attention than it deserves--

The PRESIDENT - Order! The honorable senator is now evading my ruling. He has emphasized the fact that the point raised by Senator Keating has received a good deal more attention than it deserves. Why, then, does he persist in paying attention to it?

Senator DE LARGIE - It was not the point of order that I claimed had received more attention than it deserved, but the point which Senator Keating raised as to what may happen after this Bill has become law, and when it comes before a Justice to be interpreted.

The PRESIDENT - I did not misunderstand the honorable senator. He has now repeated that the point raised by Senator Keating has received more attention than it deserved. Yet he continues to pay attention to it himself. I ask him to adopt the proper course either of dissenting from my ruling, or of abiding by it.

Senator DE LARGIE - I have too great a respect for the position which you, sir, occupy, to dispute your ruling. In Committee, if Senator Keating again raises the point, I shall avail myself of the opportunity to discuss it at greater length.

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