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Thursday, 12 October 1911

Senator ST LEDGER (Queensland) . - The Minister of Defence has made a personal appeal on the ground that sufficient explanations have been offeredto make clear what the Bill means. Certainly those who have opposed the Bill have had a pretty good time. Why did the Minister address his appeal exclusively to honorable senators on his own side?' This is not a party matter.

Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Because it is useless to appeal to the honorable senator.

Senator ST LEDGER - The Minister is surely able to take care of himself. His appeal should have been made to honorable senators generally. He admits that we have helped him to make this Billmore workable.

Senator Millen - The Minister has succeeded in getting the Bill to its present stage largely through the help of the Opposition, because Senator Walker saved the situation on one occasion.

Senator ST LEDGER - Yes, Senator Walker has almost acted the part of a political traitor by supporting the Government. I again ask whether the Minister is satisfied that this Bill is retrospective, and whether, if he is not satisfied, he will accept an amendment to make the matter clear?

Senator Pearce - I am.

Senator ST LEDGER - To which question does that remark apply? I wish to intimate that when the present amendment is disposed of, I intend to move another amendment to make it clear that the Bill is not to be retrospective. I shall move for the insertion of the words " on and after the passing of this Act," after the word " consideration." That will make the Bill more workable and more equitable. Notwithstanding the apparent inclination of some honorable senators to withdraw their opposition I must continue to light this Bill word by word.

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