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Friday, 3 November 1905

Senator TRENWITH (Victoria) - I am not going to discuss the question at all. The vote I feel called upon to give might place me in an awkward position unless I said that for years I have been an advocate of State 'management - and at present we have State control - of the liquor traffic. Yet I shall not vote for this amendment, because I fear that in consequence of the stage at which the session has arrived, the Bill, would be lost if amendments were introduced into it which would be likely to provoke any lengthy discussion in another place.

Senator GIVENS (Queensland).- Senator Trenwith has but repeated what has already been said by Senator Playford and other honorable senators. They are in favour of this being done, but they are afraid that if they put the amendment into the Bill, the measure will be dropped. We have been told that if we insert this amendment in the Bill, it will lead to everlasting talk in another place, so that it will be impossible to get the Bill passed, and we are told that we must therefore "cave in." If that is so, the only way in which the Senate can assert its power as a co-ordinate branch of the Legislature, is by oceans of talk here also, unless we get our own way. That is the logical conclusion of Senator Playford's contention. I believe that this is such a moderate amendment that it willbe readily accepted by another place. Its chief value, in my opinion, is that it will make it plain, on the face of the Bill, that we contemplate that the Government shall take over the management of the liquor traffic in four years' time. It will make known to licensees and others interested what they may expect, and, although not mandatory, it will be a very valuable provision. I hope the amendment will be carried.

Senator CROFT(Western Australia).I thought that Senator Playford would make some statement with respect to the amendment.

Senator Playford - I have said that if it is passed we shall lose the Bill.

Senator CROFT - The Government have accepted an amendment which involves the question of compensation or no compensation, and that would give rise in any Parliament to days of debate.

Senator Playford - In this case that amendment carries out only what is the law now.

Senator CROFT - A permissive power is proposed to be given to the Commonwealth to take over this industry, but because the amendment involves a principle in which the Labour Party believe, the Minister of Defence is fearful that it will give rise toa long discussion in another place, which will result in the loss of the Bill. If the Government are not occasionally prepared to vote for something in which the Labour Party believes, they may find that some members of that party, and myself for one, will not be prepared, to support them in securing everything, they desire.

Senator Pearce - A number of the members of our party voted against Government control of the liquor traffic.

Senator CROFT - That was only because they had total prohibition as a set off against it. We have now abandoned any hope of securing total prohibition, and we ask the Government to make it possible to have the industry taken over and managed as a State industry. We have a right to expect that when the Government receive support for their policy from a certain party, they will occasionally put up some kind of a fight for a principle in which that party believes.

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