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Wednesday, 27 April 1921

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) . - The honorable senator can speak again when I have resumed my seat.

Senator Pearce - Why this organized obstruction ?

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is most unfair for the Minister for Defence to suggest that we are organizing obstruction.

Senator Pearce - Why did the honorable senator suggest that Senator Gardiner might go on speaking?

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Because I considerthat he was addressing himself to a most important matter.

Senator Pearce - Has not Senator Gardiner already put his view forward? Why should Senator Thomas encourage him to obstruct?

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I was under the impression that Senator Gardiner, having spoken for a quarter of an hour on the question, believed that he could not speak again upon it. I understand that if some other honorable senator speaks for only a minute or two, Senator Gardiner will be able to speak again for another quarter of an hour if he so desires. That is according to a ruling which has been given in the Senate. In the circumstances, I think I was quite justified in letting Senator .Gardiner know the position. The Minister for Defence suggests that we should not deal with the matter of the incorporation of the Imperial Act until we come to consider clause 53.

Senator Pearce - Because that is the clause which incorporates the Imperial Air Force Act.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - If the Minister 13 prepared to postpone this clause, and every other clause which refers to the Imperial Air Force Act, until we come to clause 53, I am prepared to consent to the adoption of that course.

Senator Pearce - What advantage would that be?

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - At the present moment, I am very strongly opposed to any provision incorporating in our legislation the sections of any Imperial Act unless we know what they are. I .am so strongly opposed to that, that I am prepared to vote against the clause now before the Committee to prevent it. I assume that if we defeat the clause now under consideration, it will be taken for granted that we need not proceed with clause 53. It is a most dangerous thing to incorporate an Act of the Parliament of another country, even though it should be the British Parliament, unless we know every section and every comma in that Act. I am ready at most times to agree to an adjournment of the Senate, but I do think that we should be given time to consider all proposals put before us. It is possible that an Act passed by tho British Parliament may be applicable to conditions in Great Britain, and at the same time be quite unsuitable to Australia.

Senator Pearce - As I see that this is the only clause before clause 53 which includes a reference to the Imperial Air

Force Act I am prepared to allow it to be postponed.

Clause postponed.

Clause 5 (Application of Defence Act).

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