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Thursday, 11 June 1914

Senator GIVENS (Queensland) . - Revised Standing Orders have now been under the consideration of the Standing Orders Committee for three sessions, and, as the result of the work of that Committee, certain alterations have been suggested. I shall be very glad to explain each alteration proposed as it arises, and to give the reasons for it. The Standing Orders Committee have really attempted nothing new. The alterations suggested have been framed to meet difficulties which have already arisen in the Senate, and with a view to the smooth working of our Standing Orders and to facilitating the transaction of business. The first of the proposed amendments might very well be taken together, or they may be put singly, whichever of these courses suits the convenience of this Committee. They really relate to the same thing. Honorable senators "will notice that it is proposed that the word "writ," which at present appears in standing order number 1, paragraph g, shall be eliminated, and that the word " certificate " shall be substituted for it. The reason for this is that our Standing Orders provide that, after an election for this Chamber, the writ, with the certificate of election indorsed thereon, shall be returned to the Senate. Now, the fact is that the writs for Senate elections are issued by the State Governors, and not by any authority of the Commonwealth, and it has frequently happened that the State Governors have insisted upon their right to hold the writs, and have refused to return them to the Senate at all. They claim, and, I think, properly, that all that we are concerned with is to obtain the certificate of the election. The alterations contained in standing orders 1 and 2 are intended to overcome that difficulty, and will, I think, commend themselves to the good sense of the Committee. I might further explain that the amendments are entirely in accord with the Constitution, which provides for a certificate of election and not for the return of the writ. I move -

That the amendments be agreed to.

Motion agreed to.

Amendments in standing order 2 agreed to.

Amendment.-Insert the following new stand ing order: - "38a. Unless by leave of the Senate no Standing Committee shall sit during the sittings of the Senate."

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