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Thursday, 12 October 1911

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister of Defence) . - I do not know that Senator Gardiner has any just cause of complaint against me. He must admit that he has said a great deal which he could not reasonably expect to have answered, and which, indeed, he did not want to have answered. He would have been very much surprised if I, as the representative of the Government on this matter, had risen to reply to him. A good deal of blank ammunition has been fired this afternoon, but I now appeal to honorable senators to let the Bill pass through its remaining stages to-day.

Senator Rae - What is the good of it?

Senator PEARCE - The majority of the Committee think that it will serve a useful purpose, and I am of the same opinion. But, as I have said, we have given much more time to the Bill, and much more opposition has been bestowed upon it, than it merits. I have never urged that it is a very important matter, and certainly do not think that it is of such importance that a minority of the

Senate should endeavour to block its passage. I can quite understand that if this were a Bill of considerable importance, it might be worthy of such opposition. I make a personal appeal to honorable senators on this side of the Chamber, seeing that they have put up a fight which has been of longer duration than the subject was worth, to let the Bill go through. In regard to Senator Gardiner's question, I may say that 1 think that if this measure becomes an Act, it will apply to all traffic in medals. It would be difficult to discriminate as to whether a medal was of such an age that it could be allowed to become the subject of traffic. After all, wehave to remember that medals and similar objects are only treasured by collectors of antiques and by museums. They are chiefly desired to be purchased by persons who collect for such institutions, or for private collection.

Senator Chataway - This Bill makes it illegal for museums to buy medals.

Senator PEARCE - No, I have circulated an amendment which will make it legal for museums to purchase them. I again appeal to honorable senators to allow the Bill to go through. A very good fight has been put up against it, and everything that can be said in opposition has been urged. Indeed, a great many arguments that have nothing whatever to do with the subject have been advanced.

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