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Thursday, 30 November 1905


The PRESIDENT - I think it would' be wise, after I, and, perhaps, other honorable senators, have spoken, to -adjourn the consideration of this matter. The motion before us now is quite a new one, and is fundamentally different from that of which Senator Pearce gave notice. The Standing Orders Committee considered' this question of instructions, and I think we were unanimously of opinion .that if some scheme could be devised whereby instructions could be given to a Committee to consider subjects not strictly relevant to the subject-matter of a Bill, and whereby the powers of the Committee of the Whole might be enlarged, that course should be taken. The only difficulty was that the Standing Orders Committee could not devise any scheme which was not open to more objections than is the present system. I entirely sympathise with those honorable senators who say, " We do not think we have sufficient liberty in a Committee of the Whole on a Bill ; we wish by instruction to have power to deal with matters that are cognate to a Bill." But if honorable senators will bear with me for a moment while I shortly state the history of standing orders concerning instructions, they will see the difficulty of the position.- In the House of Commons, it was formerly competent to give an instruction to deal with a matter not relevant to the subject-matter of a Bill, but the practice was found to be open to a great many objections. It led to matters being included in th'e same Bill which had no proper relation to each other, and which could not come under the same title. ' After the system had been tried for a considerable time in the House of Commons, it was abandoned, arid it has been abandoned by every other Parliament that I know of. Even the United States Congress have adopted the same system that we follow, though their standing order is not precisely in the same words as the standing order of this Senate. I do not wish to express at present a decided opinion about the pro- posed new standing order, because I should like time to consider it. As a matter of fact, I suggested this standing order to Senator Pearce, not, however, as, a wellconsidered proposal, but merely as a matter for consideration. Indeed, the motion as handed to meis partly in my own handwriting. As I say,I should like some further time to think over, not only the scheme itself, but the words by which it is proposed to bring it into force. I think, therefore, that the Senate would do well not to act rashly in the matter.

Debate (on motion by Senator Dobson) adjourned'.







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