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Thursday, 12 May 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - I do not like an opportunity such as this to pass without having a few words to say, as I believe it is the first time that a motion of this character has been debated. In moving that the debate be adjourned I did so with the desire I always have of meeting the wishes of the Government, and of allowing those outside who are interested an opportunity of perusing the agreement.. As the arrangement to be entered into between the Commonwealth Government and the company affects outside business interests in particular, ample time should be given to its consideration. I am quite as anxious as other honorable senators are - I openly state it - that the Senate should rise this week; but in view of the importance attaching to the motion, I suggest to the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) that we should be allowed next week to consider it. There are various interests to be considered, and a motion of such importance should not betoo readily carried. The Minister should let us know immediately whether he is agreeable to the Senate meeting next week - that will meet my convenience - although I do not intend to pose as one who is anxious to do well. I think I have previously stated that the Senate should adjourn while another place is discussing the Tariff, so that the members of this Chamber could come back prepared to give it the attention it deserves.

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon T Givens - Senator Gardiner was quite right in saying that it was the first time a motion of this character had been debated, and I had considerable doubt at the outset as to whether such a course was in order. During the debate I have been looking up our records, to see if there is any precedent, and I find that under standing order 74 the placing of business cannot be debated. This motion was not on the notice-paper, and as there is no precedent I did not at the moment realize that honorable senators who were addressing themselves to the question were out of order; I allowed them to proceed because other honorable senators had spoken to the motion. My ruling now is that in future no debate can be allowed on a motion relating to the placing of business.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Motion (by Senator Russell) agreed to-

That the paper be printed.

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