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Friday, 26 July 1912

The PRESIDENT - Order ! Senator Millen is not discussing the motion, but asking the Chair a question regarding procedure.

Senator Millen - In view of the general desire to discuss this matter, sir, can you suggest a way by which the mistake into which the Senate has fallen can be remedied ?

Senator Findley - In the first place, sir, an error was made in permitting the motion to go as formal business. I hope that a way will be found for allowing a discussion to take place. If the motion is put to a vote this morning, the Government and their supporters will have to vote against it, and, therefore, honorable senators will not have that opportunity which Senator McColl desires that they should have.

Senator Givens - I object to any withdrawal of the motion. There is a proper course to be pursued. As I came past the Ministerial table I told the Minister that this motion ought not to be allowed to go as formal business. It was allowed to go as formal business, and, therefore, I object to a withdrawal. The proper course is to take a vote, and I intend to have a division.

The PRESIDENT - Under the Standing Orders, the Chair has no power to deal with this matter. Standing order 69 says -

Before the Senate proceeds to the Notices of Motion or Orders of the Day, the President shall inquire in respect to each motion of which notice has been given for the day, and each Order of the Day for the third reading of a Bill, whether there is any objection to its being taken as a formal motion or order ; and if no objection is taken by any senator, the motion or order shall be deemed to be a formal motion or order.

Senator McColl - In regard to the point raised by Senator Millen, sir, I am very desirous that this motion should be discussed.

Senator Givens - I object to any discussion on the motion now. The honorable senator said " formal " when the motion was called on.

The PRESIDENT - The standing order is very clear. This motion was agreed to be taken as formal business, and it has to be put from the chair without discussion.

Senator Pearce - May I make a suggestion, sir, which I think will get over the difficulty ? If the motion be negatived now, Senator McColl could give notice to rescind the resolution.

Senator Givens - No; it could not be brought up again this session.

Senator Pearce - I think that, under the Standing Orders, Senator McColl could bring the matter up on a motion for adjournment, or on a motion to rescind the decision of the Senate.

Senator Givens - I wish to point out to you, sir, that under the Standing Orders a matter which has been decided in one session cannot be brought up again during that session.

Senator Pearce - A motion to rescind a resolution can be moved.

Senator Givens - Senator McColl called " formal " to the motion. I was astonished, and said under my breath to the Minister as I came past the table that the motion should not be allowed to go as formal. As it has been allowed to go as formal, there is only one remedy, and that is to take a vote.

The PRESIDENT - Order ! I have read the motion, and the question must now be put.

Question resolved in the negative.

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