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Wednesday, 26 October 1910

Senator McGREGOR (South AustraliaVicePresident of the Executive Council) . - I cannot understand this sort of obstruction. I am very sorry to use such a word in relation to so amiable a gentleman as Senator Keating, but he knows perfectly well that his statement is not in accordance with fact. The definition clause has figured at the commencement of almost every Bill which has occupied the attention of this Parliament, and it is not a fact that it has been the custom to postpone its consideration until the substantive clauses have been dealt with. I would remind honorable senators that if the definitions in this Bill are not clearly understood before the remaining clauses of the measure are the subject of consideration we shall find ourselves upon almost every provision discussing what the definition of certain terms is likely to be. Thus the debate will be protracted to twice the length it would otherwise occupy. If we deal with the definition clause now, there is no doubt that the consideration of the Bill will be expedited. Much as I would like to accede to the request of Senator Keating, I cannot see my way to agree to a course which is not in accordance with the usual practice.

Senator Keating - It has been the practice.

Senator McGREGOR - It may have been in isolated cases, but it is not the general practice, and as the Commonwealth is now ten years old it is too late to initiate a new practice.

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