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Thursday, 28 April 1921


The CHAIRMAN (Senator T Bakhap (TASMANIA) - Senator Elliott has given notice of the following amendment: -

After " repealed " insert " and the following section inserted in its stead : - " 16a. Any officer on the active list, and being a member of the Senate or House of Representatives or who shall hereafter be elected to the Senate or House of Representatives, shall be forthwith placed upon the unattached list, but in time of war any such officer may be re-appointed . to the active list, and thereupon shall be entitled to leave from either House until he shall cease to be employed on the active list or until the period for which he was elected shall expire whichever event shall 6rst happen."

I have perused the proposed amendment very carefully, and while I shall accept it down to the words " active list," I cannot accept the concluding words of the proposed amendment, which read: - and thereupon shall be entitled to leave from either House until he shall cease to be employed on the active list or until the period for which he was elected shall expire, whichever event shall first happen.

I must, of course, in declining to accept an amendment of that character, state my reason, which is that constitutionally such an amendment is not in order. Section 20 of the Constitution reads -

The place of a senator shall become vacant if, for two consecutive months of any session of the Parliament he, without the permission of the Senate, fails to attend the Senate.

Honorable senators will see that the Senate itself claims the complete powerin respect to the giving of leave of any senators, and I cannot accept an amendment which would unconstitutionally, I think, propose to confer upon another place the power of giving leave to a senator, which right is jealously preserved to us not only by the Constitution, but also by our Standing Orders. If the honorable senator still desires to move his amendment, I must excise all the words after " active list," although I do not intend to take upon myself die duty of interpreting the Constitution on all occasions.







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