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Thursday, 23 November 1905

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) - Senator Givens has acted with wisdom and judgment in proposing to eliminate these words. It certainly was an undesirable extension of the motion, because the only object of Senator Dawson's motion was that the expression of opinion arrived at by the Senate on a former occasion should be conveyed by means of a message to the King. I am glad that Senator Givens has proposed to eliminate these words, which were practically reviving in an intense form, a matter which, to some extent, was embraced in that expression of opinion. At the same time, I am not able to regard the motion, even so amended, as a formal one. I do not propose to re-open the whole question. I should be glad if a division could be takein in at least as full a Chamber as that which considered the original motion. I think it would be well if Senator Givens could see his way to agree to an adjournment of the! debate. But whether he does or not. it would be impossible for me to allow this motion to be treated as a purely formal one.

Senator Givens - The honorable and learned senator will admit that this proposal was inadvertently omitted from the original motion.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I have no doubt that it was. It would be improper for those who take a contrary view in respect of the original motion to allow this motion to pass as a purely formal one. It would be really assenting to what I regard as the vital objection, to the original motion. It will be recollected that I declined to enter into the debate on the question of Home. Rule for Ireland. It is no business of. ours: It is impossible for us to deal with a great question, affecting the relations between Great Britain and Ireland. It is not like a question, relating tq British New Guinea, or a State in the Commonwealth, as affected by that jurisdiction of this Parliament. The question of Home Rule for Ireland, embraces an immense number of issues which we are not in a position to determine. It is not a question of merely establishing a Legislature in Dublin. My objection to the claim is not because I claim, or because- 1 believe that anybody can claim, to have arrived at a definite opinion as to the relations of Great Britain and Ireland, but because I think it is outside our scope to interfere in any way with a question of that description. The Senate arrived at an opinion on the question : but Senator Dawson desires that it shall be conveyed by message to tha King. That is the. very point of interference which I greatly deprecate. It will put this Parliament in a false position. It is assuming a right which can only be effected or given evidence to by means of a message which is sought to be directed in a way which, although certainly gratuitous, might turn out to be entirely mischievous. So long as it remains merely an expression of opinion it is innocuous, but the moment it is despatched by a. message it will become a weapon for. party and political purposes, to be wielded on the platforms at the time of an election, and to be used in a way which I am. quite sure we should resent if applied to ourselves. For these rea:sons I think it is. extremely inadvisable that the resolution of the Senate should be forwarded by means of a message, and above all. that those of us. who objected to the- original passing of the resolution should assent to its being despatched tothe King as a merely formal matter, as though the Senate as a whole had unanimously decided to send it.

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