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Thursday, 11 June 1914

The PRESIDENT - I would point out that while the honorable senator, is perfectly entitled to show what has been done in similar circumstances if he advances it as a reason why a certain course should or should not be pursued now, he is not entitled under cover of this motion to deal with some entirely extraneous matter.

Senator DE LARGIE - I will not. dispute your ruling, sir, but I am sorry that YOU did not allow me a little more latitude. Had I been permitted a little' more scope, I think I could have shown up the action of the Government in connexion with Select Committees appointed by this Senate in a very bad light indeed. As far as the Teesdale Smith Contract Select Committee is concerned, I have very grave doubts as to whether it will get the papers for which it asks. I think we shall find that many of those papers will be mutilated or presented in such a form that they will be of very little value indeed. As for getting at the truth while the present Government are in power, I have very little hope of that.

Senator O'LOGHLIN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -Colonel Sir AlbertGould.- Oh, ye of little faith!

Senator DE LARGIE - Why should 1 not have but little faith in the present Ministry, knowing, as' I do, the class of men with- whom we have to deal ? I hope that the Committee will receive better treatment than was accorded to the Chinn Select Committee, but I very much question whether it will obtain the papers which it is seeking. It will probably be found that quite a number of those papers will be missing or mutilated or presented to it in some form in which they will be of very little value.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - The honorable senator should not prophesy until he knows.

Senator DE LARGIE - I can only prophesy in the light of the past actions of the Government. Basing my prediction on those actions, I repeat that there is very little hope that the Committee will obtain the papers for which it asks.

Senator McGREGOR(South Aus any very great necessity for discussing this question further. If a mistake has been' made by the Select Committee, it was a technical mistake and one which, if the Department of Home Affairs had exhibited any discretion or courtesy, would have been corrected long ago, in which case this special report would not have been presented. In future I hope that the Committee and the officers who are assisting it, will be so particular that there will be no possibility of any mistake of that description occurring again. In these circumstances I ask leave to withdraw the motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Motion (by Senator McGregor) agreed to - :

That the report be referred back to the Committee.

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