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Thursday, 28 April 1921

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Bakhap (TASMANIA) - Do I apprehend the point of order correctly when I understand the Minister to contend that Senator Elliott's amendment is irrelevant because it is not an amendment of clause 7 ?

Senator Pearce - My point of order is that Senator Elliott's amendment is not relevant to the Bill, and it is the Bill and not the principal Act that the Committee is considering. The section of the Act which Senator Elliott is seeking to amend is not dealt with by the Bill. The section of the Act which it is proposed .to amend by the clause now before the Committee is section 11a. Senator Elliott is seeking to introduce an amendment of section 16 of the principal Act, which is not brought under the consideration of the Committee by this Bill at all. I haVe pointed out that when an amending Bill is presented and an honorable senator desires to bring up for consideration sections of an Act which are not dealt with by that Bill, he must, under the Standing Orders, take the course of moving, after the second reading of the Bill, an instruction to the Committee on the measure to deal with the matters which in his opinion should be considered. The honorable senator should have adopted the course provided by the Standing Orders.

Senator Gardiner - I have listened carefully to the Minister for Defence, but it appears to me that the whole question of promotion is raised by the clause now before the Committee. If the section which Senator Elliott's proposal will amend is not dealt' with in the Bill, that might be a good reason for the' introduction by the Minister for Defence of an amending Bill to deal with that section, but it is not a good reason for refusing to consider an amendment dealing with the question of promotion which is opened up by the clause now under consideration.

Senator Pearce - There is a proper way in which to do what the honorable senator suggests.

Senator Gardiner - The question is whether clause 7, the marginal note to which is "Promotion from the ranks," opens up the question of promotion, and whether, if it does, the amendment proposed by Senator Elliott is relevant to that question. I believe that the amendment is in order.

Senator Earle - I think that if the point of order raised by the Minister for Defence is sustained, honorable senators will be placed in a very difficult position in dealing with any Bill of this character. I admit that I was quite unaware of standing orders which would prevent an honorable senator dealing with any section of an Act which a Bill has been introduced to amend. If there are standing orders which prevent honorable senators dealing with sections of an Act other than those which are dealt with in a Bill submitted to the Senate, I consider that the difficulty has been overcome by the fact that Senator Elliott has had his amendment printed and circulated from the beginning of the consideration of this Bill, and before the passing of the second reading.

Senator Pearce - The Standing Orders provide another method for dealing with such matters, and Senator Elliott has not availed himself of it.

Senator Earle - If the contention of the Minister for Defence is correct, an honorable senator cannot discuss on an amending Bill any section of the principal Act other than those sections with which the Bill deals.

Senator Pearce - I do not say that they cannot be discussed, but that they cannot be amended unless an instruction has been given to the Committee on the Bill to consider them.

Senator Earle - Of what use is it to discuss sections of a principal Act which are not dealt with in an amending Bill if they cannot be amended? I contend that Senator Elliott has overcome the difficulty by the printing and circulation, of his amendment before the second reading of the Bill. They were put before honorable senators at the inception of the discussion of this measure.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - And yet they might be ruled out of order' when they were moved.

Senator Earle - Not unless they were incompatible with the principles of the Bill.

Progress reported.

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