Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Friday, 10 November 1905

Senator WALKER (New South Wales) - I need scarcely say that I support Senator Pulsford's amendment, for the reason that the regulations may be put in force some time before we have an opportunity to consider them, and we may find that they have been regarded from a party point of view by the Government who have drafted them, and that that Government will be supported through thick and thin by their followers. There is an old adage that " prevention is better than cure," and I would rather see this question settled forthwith. I am aware that some honorable senators on the other side may think that this so-called amendment comes under the classical definition of Senator Givens, as expressed ' last night, of a " deleterious adulteration " of the Bill. That strikes me as not at all a bad expression, although it is one that is somewhat Givenish.. As I say, it is my intention to vote for the amendment, and I hope honorable senators on this side will strengthen the hands of Senator Symon in his support of the efforts of the leader of the Senate to get through the Bill as quickly as possible.

Senator PULSFORD(New South Wales). - I cannot understand the attitude assumed by Ministers towards the amendments I have moved to-day. I think that there is some misunderstanding as to the duties and privileges of private senators. I take it to be the duty of all honorable senators to. study Bills in detail, as far as they can, and naturally there are some who understand certain classes of Bills better than do others. I am very seldom found proposing amendments in Bills relating to matters which I do not thoroughly understand ; but I do claim to know 'something about trade and commerce. I have repeatedly drawn attention to the continuous proposals for government by regulation. Measure after measure is laid before us in which we are committed to that policy. The Committee cannot wonder, therefore, that when I found that this Commerce Bill was to be administered almost absolutely by regulations, I realized the probability of its coming into force some time before Parliament had had an opportunity to discuss the regulations. Can honorable senators wonder that I seek to prevent that possibility? Had Senator O'Connor, now justice O'Connor, been in charge of the business to-day, and had seen that the simple amendments proposed did not in any way conflict with the principle of the Bill, he would have accepted them straight away, and we should have made a great deal more progress. With these few words, I am prepared to leave my amendment with the Committee.

Suggest corrections