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Thursday, 3 December 1914

Senator MILLEN - Does the Minister of Defence intend to make a statement in laying the Budget-papers upon the table ?

Senator Pearce - Yes; I intend to move that the papers be printed.

Senator MILLEN - If the Minister proposes to lay the papers on the table, and in doing so to make a statement, I submit that under our Standing Orders private business must take priority. It seems to me that the course proposed by Senator Ready is the proper one to follow. We ought, first, to postpone the consideration of Senator Long's notice of motion, and then we shall be able to afford the Minister an opportunity to make the statement which he desires to make.

The PRESIDENT - Whereas the notice of motion standing in Senator Long's name has precedence now, it may not have precedence at a later hour of the day. In regard to the other matter, I rule that, so long as he interrupts no other business, it is perfectly competent for the Minister of Defence to lay the

Budget-papers on the table, and in doing so to submit a motion that the papers be printed.

Senator de Largie - Would that not be an interruption ?

The PRESIDENT - So long as business had not been called on, it would not. By protecting the rights of private members I am endeavouring to study the convenience of the Senate.

Senator Keating - Would not the ends of the Minister be served if he were allowed to make a statement by leave of the Senate ? Any motion in reference to private business could afterwards take precedence.

The PRESIDENT - It might take precedence after the Minister's statement - I do not know at this stage.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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