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Wednesday, 14 April 1915

Senator PEARCE - That is under consideration. Before sitting down, 1 haveto refer to the fact that since we adjourned there have been two deaths hi this Parliament. Both these gentlemen were members of the House of Representatives, but I feel sure that I am voicing the sentiment and the wish of the Senate when I say' that we condole and sympathize with their relatives in the loss" which they have sustained by death. I desire now to say a few words regarding the order of business. It is proposed to introduce as soon as possible certain amending legislation which has been found necessary as the result of further experience with war conditions. Some o) the circumstances which have given rise to the necessity for that legislation have only come to light during the last week, and in consequence of that the Government, while convinced of the need for its enactment, have not been able to get the legislation ready for the re-opening of the Parliament, but at the earliest possible opportunity it will be brought forward. It is also intended to ask Parliament te pass the Estimates for 1914-5. Honorable senators will realize that we are approaching the close of the financial year. The preparation of the Estimates for the forthcoming year is well advanced in the various Departments. It is advisabitthat at the earliest opportunity the new Estimates should be submitted to Parliament. As it has voted practically the- whole of the Supply asked for in the old Estimates, it is desirable that they should be cleared out of the way. It is proposed to ask Parliament to pass the old Estimates, and as soon as they have been dealt with in another House they will be brought up hero.

Senator Millen - Do you anticipate having to bring in a further Supply Bill 1

Senator PEARCE - Not if the Estimates for the current year are put through. If our honorable friends who sit in opposition will accede to our wish, we will put the Estimates through, and that will give us Supply until the end of June.'

Senator Keating - For how long have you Supply now?

Senator PEARCE - I think that Supply will be exhausted this coming week.

The point I wish to make is that, if Supply had to be asked for now, we would practically have to ask it for the period ending June for a reason which I will point out. As honorable senators know, there is a measure known as the Tariff before another place. It is quite possible that both sides there may be found in perfect agreement on the Tariff, though it is probable that they may not. Judging by past experience, it is almost too much to hope that the Tariff will be sent to the. Senate for some little time. However, the Government are assuming that there will be a fair amount of discussion on the Tariff, and as our other proposals are not yet ready for submission - I refer to the Referenda Bills - what we propose is that the Senate shall deal with the emergency war legislation, pass the Estimates, and then adjourn.

Senator Millen - Are those measures coming here first?

Senator PEARCE - If that can be arranged, I shall be glad to introduce, them here. Possibly we may be able- to deal with the emergency war legislation while the other House is finishing the Estimates for the current year.

Senator Keating - The war measures will be initiated here?

Senator PEARCE - Probably. That would enable us to pass the emergency war legislation and the Estimates, and then the Senate could adjourn until, say, the beginning of J une. Through the Estimates being passed, we would have Supply until the end of the month, and probably at that time we would be ready to submit the Referenda Bills if the Tariff was not ready, or if the Tariff was ready we could go on with its consideration; at any rate, by the beginning of Jane we would either have the Tariff up here or other legislation which the Government propose to submit, and which is set out in the Governor-General's Speech. I hope that this statement will be acceptable to honorable senators.

Senator Millen - Before sitting down, do you not propose to give us an outline of the business for the session ?

Senator PEARCE - That is already outlined in the Governor-General's Speech.

Senator Millen - It is not proposed to go beyond that ?

Senator PEARCE - Not in any important particular unless special circum stances should arise. I do not know of anything which is not forecast in the Speech.

Senator Millen - I think it is pretty all-embracing.

Senator PEARCE - I move - That the paper be printed.

Debate (on motion by Senator Millen) adjourned.

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