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Wednesday, 13 December 1905

Senator BEST (Victoria) - There is no doubt that this amendment appears, to be simply a matter of putting what we desire in a better way. But the very object of this

Bill is to get rid of the word "European." For a temporary purpose it is now proposed to retain that word. It will be regrettable if we do retain it when the object is to substitute a prescribed language for an European language. I accept the position that the Government is bona fide in its intention ultimately to prescribe some language which may or may notbe European.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Is the Government likely to prescribe Japanese?

Senator BEST - I shall be prepared to criticise the regulation when it is brought before the Senate. In the meantime, the original Act is to remain in force, so far as the use of an European language is concerned. The ultimate object and design of the Bill is to omit the provision with regard to the European language, and to permit a language to be prescribed by regulation. The European language has to remain only temporarily, for not longer, I should imagine, than six, seven, or nine months ; and under the circumstances, I submit that the clause is effective enough in its present form, and consistent with the general tenor of the Bill.

Senator GIVENS(Queensland). - I support the amendment of Senator Symon, because it is a plain, straightforward way of doing what we desire to do. In clause 3 as it stands we adopt a roundabout method and endeavour to hide with a mass of verbiage something which cannot be hidden. Every one knows that the language prescribed in the principal Act is an European language, and why not say so? There is more verbiage and useless redundancy about that clause than about any clause I ever saw, and it is absurd to place such a ridiculous proposal before sensible men. It will only serve to call attention to the fact that we are trying to humbug somebody, and probably humbug ourselves.

SenatorLt.-Col. GOULD (New South Wales). - How many honorable senators believe that the Government will, within six or nine months, bring down regulations prescribing some other language? Those who do believe that, are much more simple than I deemed1 members of Parliament to be. I cannot understand why we are asked to take this roundabout way of expressing our intentions, and the simplest course would be to accept the words suggested by Senator Symon.

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