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Friday, 3 November 1905

Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales) - I have the strongest feeling that it is desirable that Parliament should retain as much power as it can in connexion with the regulation of the census. The Bill, as passed through Committee last night, practically leaves everything to the Statistician or the Minister, and Parliament is ignored throughout. I propose to move for the recommittal of the Bill, with a view to add to the last clause, dealing with regulations the following words : -

But none of such regulations, so far as they relate to the taking of the census, nor any forms prescribed for the householder's schedule or oaths of secrecy shall be of any force or effect until approved and adopted by Parliament by resolution.

Last night I moved that Parliament should itself decide the day on which the census is to be held. I was defeated, and I do not propose to again raise that question. But I do think that it is desirable that Parliament should have some say with regard to the details of the householder's schedule, the oaths of secrecy, which are usually set out in the Census Acts of other countries, and also with regard to the regulations. The census is a most important matter, and it is only to be taken once in ten years. The amendment I propose to submit, if the Bill is recommitted, will mean that on some day prior to the taking of the first census in 191 1 the various forms proposed will have to be submitted to Parliament for approval. Parliament will not be again troubled with the matter until prior to the next census in 192 1. We do not know who is to be the Statistician, or who will be the Minister at the time the arrangements for the census are made, and therefore the least we can do as guardians of the rights of the people is to insist that.

Parliament shall have final control of this very important matter. ' I move -

That the Bill be recommitted for the reconsideration of clause 28.

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