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Tuesday, 12 December 1905

The CHAIRMAN - It is not competent for the honorable member to move the omission of a clause, but he may vote against it, and, if it be negatived, may, at a later stage, propose the insertion of new clauses. He cannot, however, either propose or discuss such clauses now.

Mr CHANTER - I do not intend, to move them now,, but I wish to read them to show honorable members what I propose to substitute for the present arrangement.

The CHAIRMAN - The honorable member might move the omission of the words' " Section 194," as a test question. If that amendment were carried, the Government would, no doubt, consent to the clause being negatived, and the honorable member could,, later on, at the proper stage, move the insertion of his proposed nev? clauses.

Mr Frazer - Will . not the honorable member be in order, in urging the Committee to negative the clause, in reading the proposals which he wishes to substitute for it?

The CHAIRMAN - He may indicate what they are, but he may not discuss them in detail. May is very specific on this point. In that authority it is stated, at page 459,,

Neither may an amendment be proposed to leave out from the word " That " to the end of the clause, in order to substitute other words, such an amendment being in the nature of a new clause.

Mr Frazer - If the honorable member reads his proposed new clauses, will he be held to be discussing them in detail ?

The CHAIRMAN - Certainly not.

Mr CHANTER - I accept your suggestion, sir, and therefore move -

That the words " Section one hundred and ninety-four," in line 1, be left out.

I wish to create another tribunal in place of that provided for in the Bill. The nature of that tribunal may be gathered from the following provisions, which, if the clause is negatived, I shall later on move to insert -

The validity of any election or return may be disputed by petition addressed to the Honorable the Speaker of. the House of Representatives in the case of an election for that House, and to the Honorable the President in the case of an election for the Senate, and not otherwise. The Speaker and President shall immediately on receipt refer all such petitions to the Committee appointed by either House as the case may require.

The Committee shall consist of not less than nine members nominated by the Speaker in the case of a disputed return or election for the House of Representatives, and the President in the case of a disputed return or election for the Senate. If such nominations are not objected to within six days of their being so nominated, then such persons as are nominated shall constitute the Committee. If objected to within the prescribed period, a ballot shall be taken and the members chosen thereat shall constitute the Committee.

The Committee so chosen shall be the Court of Disputed Returns, and shall have jurisdiction to compel the attendance of witnesses, take evidence upon oath, and sit in any part of the Commonwealth it may deem necessary, and shall lay its report before Parliament upon all -matters deter, mined by it.

That is briefly my proposal. I may add that I would give the new Court which I wish to create all the powers the High Court now possesses for punishing those who do wrong.

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