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Friday, 8 April 1921

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) . - Is it intended that the Senate shall adjourn until Wednesday next?

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Under our Standing Orders, if this motion be carried, we shall do so.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I have no objection to meeting on Wednesday next; but it seems to me that when we reassemble we shall have only the Air Force Bill to deal with.

Senator Keating - There is the Public Service Bill.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - That measure is not yet before us. It seems unfortunate that the first and second readings of that Bill were not moved this week. We might then have had a short adjournment to enable us to look into its provisions. The consideration of the Bill with which we have been dealing this morning may occupy the whole of next week; but, on the other hand, the measure may go through very quickly. When the Public Service Bill comes before us, we ought to be given two or three days in which to thoroughly digest its provisions. I think, too, that the Government should exhibit some regard for the convenience of honorable senators who come from other States, and I shall be glad if the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) will supply me, and other honorable senators who are similarly situated, with a copy of his second-reading speech, upon the Air Force Bill this morning. Otherwise, honorable senators who do not happen to live in Melbourne will have no opportunity of seeing it before Wednesday next.

Senator Pearce - The honorable senator means a copy of the unrevised report. I will do that if the Chief of the Hansard staff says that it can be done.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Not only on the present occasion, but practically every' time that Ministers make second-reading speeches on important Bills, it would be a good thing to let us have unrevised copies of their speeches at once.

Senator Lynch - Do you want them, in addition to the exhaustive reports of the proceedings of the Senate, appearing in the press every day ?

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The press give us very fair reports, and I am not complaining. The press is there as a commercial institution to put in just what suits it; but we have a right to ask for facilities so far as our own Hansard is concerned. Hansard cannot be in the hands of those members who come from New South Wales until Wednesday after 2 o'clock. The South Australian members can have it on Wednesday at about 10.30 o'clock. This delay could be obviated by Ministers being good enough to send us unrevised copies of their second-reading speeches.

Senator Pearce - If there was some statement in that speech which the Minister said was not correctly reported, would you accept the Minister's assurance?

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Decidedly! I am sorry the Minister should have asked me such a question. I venture" to say that as a rule there is very little difference between the unrevised and the revised reports of Hansard.

Senator Wilson - I think the members of the Hansard staff are very charitable to us.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - A Minister, when making a statement, generally knows what he is going to say, and the members of the Hansard staff report what he does say. It is obvious that slips must occur now and then, but they are of very little consequence. The Minister will recognise that what I am asking is not unfair. I shall be very glad if the Minister will be1 good enough to accede to my request in this particular case, and if Ministers generally will do the same in the case of all important measures.

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