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Tuesday, 19 December 1905

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) - I agree with every word that has been said by Senator Stewart, but at the same time I am bound to point out the very grave danger of the course the honorable senator has advocated. He must recognise that when this Bill left the Senate we included justices of the peace in the list of authorized witnesses, but the other House has ventured to strike that out. What Senator Stewart now asks the Committee to do, without the slightest tremor, and without any evidence of nervousness that I could discover, is to disagree with an amendment suggested by the House of Representatives.

Senator Stewartapparently is willing to ask the Committee to precipitate the Senate into the dangerous position of venturing to express an opinion at variance with that expressed by the House of Representatives.

Senator Stewart - I do it with bated breath.

Senator MILLEN - Certain honorable senators have decided that the Senate shall accept the position of recording angel for another place, and though I might have been prepared to vote on a matter of principle to disagree with the amendment of another place, it is unnecessary to waste time in disagreeing with an amendment which is of no great importance.

Senator Pearce - Why did the honorable senator vote in the last division against the House of Representatives' amendment ?

Senator MILLEN - Because I happened to be sitting on this side, and because I believe in the proposal. I recognise that certain honorable senators have absolutely branded the Senate as the subordinate House of the Parliament, and have decided that its sole function is to fall in with any views to which the House of Representatives has given expression. On an amendment involving a principle of major importance, honorable senators have accepted the suggestion of Ministers that their business is merely to fall in with the views expressed in another place. As we have decided that we should do so in matters of vital importance, it appears to me to be a waste of time, of which we have not now too much to spare, to disagree with the House of Representatives on matters of much less moment.

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