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Wednesday, 6 December 1905

Senator DOBSON (Tasmania) - Senator Pearce gave the Standing Orders Committee notice that he would move a certain standing order, and would take the opinion of the Senate uponit. The honorable senator has not done so, andit appears to me that his change of opinion is a change for the better. The motion which he has now moved is one that might, and I believe would, find acceptance by the Standing Orders Committee. It will be within the recollection of the Senate that all similar matters have invariably been referred to the Standing

Orders .Committee, which has been constituted for the express purpose of considering them.

Senator Pearce - I have given up all hope of the Standing Orders Committee.

Senator DOBSON - I think the honorable senator has no right to do that. The Committee has always given careful consideration to matters affecting the Standing Orders. Its Chairman is our President, who has taken an infinitude of trouble over every question brought before him. The Committee has never had a meeting without the President quoting a number of precedents and authorities on the questions at issue. For that reason alone I put it to Senator Pearce that it is a matter of courtesy that the matter should be referred to the Committee.

Senator Pearce - The majority of the members of the Committee have expressed opinions against any alterations.

Senator DOBSON - I think not. We have simply found a difficulty in framing a new rule to carry out the object in view. The unanimous feeling of the Committee was that we ought to find a way out of the difficulty, and I am not at all sure that the proposed new standing order does not to a great extent help us. The Committee has expressed itself in favour of altering the standing order upon which the President has given a ruling, but we shrank from going to the opposite extreme. Senator Pearce's new proposal is an indication that he is willing to try to find a via media. As, however, he does not seem to be inclined to refer the matter to the Committee, I move -

That all the words after " the " be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words "question of any alteration in the Standing Orders in reference to instructions be referred back to the Standing Orders Committee for further consideration."

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