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Tuesday, 29 November 1927

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) [4.55]. - I move -

That so much of the Standing and Sessional Orders be suspended as would prevent the bill being passed through all its stages without delay.

As honorable senators will observe, this is the only bill at present before the Senate, on the first reading of which, as honorable senators know, there can be a general discussion on subjects other than those with which it deals. The debate on the second reading, however, must be relevant to the bill itself. If, therefore, this motion is carried no hardship will be involved, as any honorable senator who wishes to speak on general subjects will be able to do so. When the second reading has been moved, assuming that stage is reached to-day, the debate can, if necessary, be adjourned.

Senator Payne - What is to become of the motion for the printing of the Estimates and Budget Papers?

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE.That will be read and discharged. A similar motion is brought before this chamber every year to give honorable senators an opportunity to discuss the Government's financial proposals before the Appropriation Bill reaches this chamber.

Senator NEEDHAM(Western Australia [5.0]. - I hope that the Senate will not agree to the motion. Since I have been a member of the Senate I have consistently opposed unnecessary suspensions of the Standing Orders. The present is another such occasion. If I saw before me a notice-paper well filled with items of Government policy, and a Government eager to put that policy into operation, I could understand a motion to suspend the Standing Orders being submitted ; but the notice-paper before us is practically devoid of business. Moreover, some time must elapse before it can be augmentedby bills from another place. There is therefore no justification for the motion which has been submitted. It is true, as the Leader of the Senate has said, that on the first reading of this bill honorable senators may discuss subjects not relevant to it; but that is not a sufficient reason for suspending the Standing Orders. The ordinary procedure should be adopted. Realizing that only a few weeks remain before we adjourn for Christmas, I should have assisted the Government to get through its work expeditiously by suspending thu Standing Orders if the business-paper had warranted it; but that is not the position confronting us to-day. There is no justification for the action taken by the Leader of the Senate.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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