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Friday, 14 May 1915

Mr WISE (Gippsland) .- I rise to make a suggestion regarding the further consideration of this Bill. The whole of the trouble that has arisen in connexion with our consideration of War Bills has been in relation to the question of whether, from a legal point of view, they will achieve the purpose for which they are intended, or whether they may not do more than that at which the AttorneyGeneral aims in presenting them. These discussions have been of a purely legal character. All these War Bills are nonparty measures; if they were not, then the proposal , I am about to make would be utterly impracticable. Seeing that the whole House is at one in the desire to support the end which this measure is designed to achieve, and that the difficulty that has arisen in relation to it is one of legal phraseology, I think that a conference between the Attorney-General and one or two legal members on the other side would clear the way to a speedy passing of the measure. We have had much discussion to-day, as on a previous occasion, between the honorable member for Angas, the honorable member for Flinders, and the Attorney-General, as to whether this Bill goes too far, or does not go far enough. This Chamber, in the ordinary course of a debate, is about the most unsuitable place that could be founds for such a discussion-. In the Law Courts, many of the best arguments advanced are drawn out as the result of an interjection. But here, if the Attorney-General interjects while an honorable member is speaking, he, sooner or later, finds himself out of order. My suggestion is that the AttorneyGeneral, after redrafting certain clauses of the Bill, as I presume he will endeavour to do, should submithis draft to, say, the honorable member for Angas, and the honorable member for Flindsrs, and that, in company with the Parliamentary Draftsman, he should meet them in consultation. If they agreed upon the clauses as redrafted, then all sides would be prepared to accept their recommendation, and the time of the House would be saved. Meeting in the Ministerial room, they would be able, in half-an-hour or an hour, to discuss the whole matter infinitely better than they would be able to do here in a much longer time. If they did not reach unanimity, no time would be lost.

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