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Friday, 18 December 1914

Senator KEATING (Tasmania) . - I hope that the suggestion I am going to make to the Minister will be taken in a proper spirit. I do not think that any information which has been given to the Senate can give us an assurance that, so far as the public are concerned, the Bill is required. It may be required from the departmental view ; but their case is not very strong as presented in the memorandum read by the Minister. I do not think that advantage should be taken of the fact that this branch of the Legislature is ready to sanction a good deal of work that is dealt with in the other House, and, perhaps, dealt with there rather rapidly. I ask honorable senators to consider whether it is right to pass a measure of this kind on the little information which has been furnished. The only justification for the measure seems to be a departmental one; but that does not seem to be a very strong one. It certainly does not appeal to me, nor do I think that it appeals to any honorable senator. I am quite prepared to recognise that, in matters of this kind, the Department and the Minister must introduce measures to bring the law into certain lines to carry out what is the obvious spirit of the community; but I do not think that we have heard anything to justify this Bill being rushed through the Senate, and unless honorable senators are satisfied that there is some justification other than that which we have heard, we would be quite justified, I think, in asking the Minister to defer the consideration of this clause until we meet again, and to let us have a Merry Christmas in the meantime.

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