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Friday, 10 November 1905

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) - I did not at first quite gather the effect of Senator Pulsford's amendment, although I was perfectly certain, knowing him as I do, and as we all do, that the last thing he would propose would be an amendment that was not seriously and honestly intended to improve the Bill." Whenthe amendment was first proposed, I did not feel prepared to support it, as it did not appear to me to be necessary. The Bill itself provides for its being brought into operation at a day to be fixed', not being, earlier than six months after the passing of the measure. Remembering that we are now in the middle of November, and that weunderstand - at least I gather from statements in the press - that we may be herefor five or six weeks longer-

Senator Givens - We may be here longer than that. '

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Certainly; -I enjoy the prospect myself; and, considering that we have a new programme of most interesting legislation, of which' we have not yet reached even the threshhold, I think there is every prospect of this Bill not becoming an Act until about the beginning of next year.

Senator Playford - Ifthe honorable and learned senator thinks that the proclamation cannot be issued before the 1st July, why dotes he support the amendment ?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Senator Pulsfordassures me that it may not be, and that even if it were there would be no opportunity for the Parliament to express an opinion with regard to the regulations. There will really be no legislation in regard to exports until the regulations are made, and we shall have only a limited time in which to discuss them. Does not Senator Playford see that that is a very strong reason why the Bill should not be brought into force earlier than the probable date of the re-assembling of Parliament?

Senator Playford - Under any circumstances, it could not be brought into force more than a few weeks before that event, and in a matter of this sort that period is of precious little importance.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON -If that is so, why cannot my honorable friend agree to fix the date as the 1st July?

Senator Playford - Why should I agree to an amendment which is of little importance, ask the other House to reconsider the Bill, and go through all the trouble in connexion with that proceeding? I have to considerthat point, but the honorable and learned senator has not.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - My honorable friend has disclosed what is in his mind. He, in effect, says that we are to make no alterations, because if we did they would have to go down to the other House. If our amendments are trifling, they are of no consequence, but if they are serious, he will at once say, "Do not make a. serious alteration in the Bill, because if you do it will have to go back to the other House."

Senator Playford - In some parts of the world they can talk a week on a trifle.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Does not my honorable friend see what that means? It means that the Senate is merely to record the resolutions of the other House.

SenatorPlayford. - It ought not to make trifling amendments in a Bill merely for the sake of making them..

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - My honorable friend did not say that before. Why should he now in a moment of illtemper, and because he is cheered by his colleague, say that this is a trifling amendment? He cheered the statement that Senator Pulsford was serious.

Senator Keating - Oh, yes ; but he may be serious about a thing which is trifling.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - My honorable and learned friend has no right to say that the amendment is trifling, when his leader says he regards it as having been made seriously by Senator Pulsford.

Senator Keating - A trifling thing can be put forward seriously.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I quite appreciate the statement of SenatorPlayford, that if we make the amendment it may lead to very great debate in another place. But what is the logical consequence of that observation?

SenatorMulcahy. - It is not an argument that should be offered to the Senate.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - It is not an argument in relation: to what Senator Playford calls frivolous amendments, because they would be scouted in another place. But it is an argument which will be used when any amendment whichmy honorable friend may consider of importance is offered. He will then say, "For goodness sake do not try tocarry that amendment, because, ifyou do, it will lead to fresh debate in the otherChamber, and imperil the passage of the Bill. ' ' I quite appreciate his objection, but the result will be that if we give it logical effect we shall move no amendments. We shall simply say, "The other House would debate our amendments for a week or two, therefore we had better leave the Bill alone." I am quite sure that mv honorable friend does not wish to put us in that position.

Senator Playford - The honorable senator admitted that it was a matter of not much importance, because the time was so brief.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - My honorable friend lengthens the debateby making these charges about frivolity. I do not think they ought to be made. Let him answer the amendment, and not merely say that it is frivolous. I quite recognise the distinction that Senator

Pulsford might seriously move an amendment which other senators might consider as frivolous, but if it is called frovolous, surely, that will provoke resentment? I appeal to Senator Playford, if he wishes to get the Bill put through, to treat all amendments as having been seriously proposed.

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