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Thursday, 4 August 1921

The CHAIRMAN - I have it in mind that that should be confined to action taken by Senator Gardiner.

Senator Gardiner - I think it might not be regarded as out of order if we diseuss this important matter at this stage.

The CHAIRMAN - I shall take the responsibility of permitting its discussion.

Senator Gardiner - I have suggested that the schedule should be put to the Committee page by page. We have just reached page 13 in the schedule, and I suggest that the Chairman might put items 54 to 66 inclusive in one motion. That would not interfere with the right of honorable senators to discuss any items appearing on the page. After the discussion had concluded, the whole of these items could be put together. If that course were followed, I should be relieved of the necessity, in giving effect to my intention to endeavour to remove from the schedule any duties operating against Great Britain, of moving for a request to omit duties appearing against each of the items and sub-items on the page. When considering a Supply Bill we often deal' with the schedule in Departments, although each Department includes as many items as does a page of the Tariff schedule. That procedure suits the general convenience of honorable senators. Even those who are most desirous of a full discussion on every item must realize that there is a limit to the endurance of the Minister. There is in the Senate only one Minister (Senator Russell) who is in real sympathy with Protectionist principles, and the strain imposed upon him by. several all-night sittings would be considerable.

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Bakhap - There is nothing particularly definite in the honorable senator's suggestion, and, as several Tariffs have been dealt with previously by the Senate, the adoption now of any short cut may only land the Committee in confusion. Probably the old adage holds true, that "the longest way round is the shortest way home." I propose, therefore, to adhere strictly to established procedure, but, in order to expedite business I shall simply call each sub-item, and,- after allowing ample" time for honorable senators to prefer requests, pass on to the next. They will understand, however, that, once I have declared an item passed, there can be no retracing of our steps, except according to the proper forms prescribed by the Standing Orders.

Request negatived.

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