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Wednesday, 23 November 1921

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Bakhap (TASMANIA) - Almost the same point now raised by Senator Earle came under notice when the Committee was considering a message a few days ago. I have a very distinct and carefully-worded standing order, 256, to guide me. It deals with matters in connexion with which the Senate can only make requests. If a requested amendment is not made, or is made with modifications, any of the following motions may be moved: -

That the request be pressed.

That the request 'be not pressed.

That the modification be agreed to.

That the modification be not agreed to.

That some other modification of the original request be made.

That is precisely what the motion submitted by Senator Drake-Brockman does. I think that the Minister in charge of the message nowbefore the Committee has put the question very correctly. Another consideration must be kept in view by me, namely, that the work of the Committee and its privileges shall not be restricted in any degree.

The other House has thought fit to make a modification; it has not completely agreed with our request, but has enjoined conditions or modifications which we must accept, agree to, or reject. Our own Standing Orders provide that we can condition our acceptance of the modifications of the House of Represen- tatives by making some other modifications of our original request. The amendment which Senator DrakeBrockman has asked the Committee to consider amounts to a proposal " That some other modification of the original request be made." These words cover both generally and particularly the amendment moved by Senator DrakeBrockman, and therefore I rule that it is entirely in order. The position is much the same as if we were dealing with a clause in a Bill in which we had suggested an amendment. If it came back to us, it would be open to us to make another amendment. Any other ruling, I respectfully submit, would be found to amount to a restriction of the Committee'sdeliberations and actions which, I think, I would 'be wrong to countenance, seeing that the Standing Orders are so clearly worded in the matter. May I submit to the honorable senator that it may meet his views, and assist in securing his objective, if he movesthat the modification be agreed to, provided that, under sub-item b, the general Tariff be made free of duty.

Senator Drake-Brockman - I desire subsequently to move that the intermediate and British Tariff shall also be free, instead of 15 per cent. and 25 per cent.

Senator Earle - If the honorable senator does that there is no necessity for an amendment.

Senator Drake-Brockman - It will restore the item to its original form.

TheCHAIRMAN. - The honorable senator is entitled to move in that direction.

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