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Wednesday, 20 December 1905

Senator STEWART (Queensland) - I second the motion formally. The proposed standing order does not appear to me to meet the case at all. Its purpose is to permit of amendments being moved in an amending Bill upon subjects which are relevant to the subject-matter of the original Act. but which do not come within the purview of the amending Bill itself.

Senator Givens - Amendments on an amending Bill can be moved, anyhow.

Senator STEWART - I am quite aware of that.

Senator Pearce - What is the object of an instruction?

Senator STEWART - I do not think that an instruction is at all necessary.

Senator Croft - It would represent the feeling of the Senate.

Senator STEWART - Ifhonorable senators will allow me, I intend to suggest what I regard as a much better method. The proposed instruction must be moved before any Bill which is under consideration gets into Committee. The ordinary practice is for a Bill to pass its second reading, and to be immediately taken into Committee.

Senator Lt Col Gould - The instruction would intervene before the Bill was taken into Committee.

Senator STEWART - I submit that all this, procedure is not necessary, and will give rise to almost unlimited opportunities for " stone-walling." In cases of this kind all that I think is necessary is that notice of proposed amendments shall be given before any Bill has passed its second reading. If that were done, every honorable senator, in voting for the second reading of the measure, would know that he was also voting upon the principles contained in the amendments other than those embodied in the amending Bill.

Senator Pearce - The honorable senator would make the Senate a "dead-house" all right.

Senator STEWART - I think that my proposal is a much simpler and much more business-like one than that which is contained in the document which I hold in my hand. Under the proposed standing order, fifteen honorable senators, must votein favour of any instruction being given to the Committee. Why is that?

Senator Pearce - Why would the honorable senator stop amendments from being moved in Committee?

Senator STEWART - There is very good reason for that. If notice of those amendments were not given before the second reading of a Bill was carried, honorable senators would have grave cause to complain if other amendments which had no reference whatever to the Bill under consideration were subsequently introduced.

Senator DAWSON (QUEENSLAND) - They might make it an entirely new Bill.

Senator Pearce - Is the honorable senator referring to all amendments?

Senator STEWART - I am discussing the amendments referred to in the proposed standing order. The proposition is that when an amending Bill is brought before the Senate, any honorable senator who wishes to deal with a subject in the original Act which is not dealt with in the Bill, must obtain an instruction to the Committee of the Whole before he can move an amendment. He must also secure fifteen affirmative votes.

Senator Millen - Does the honorable senator propose to convert the fifteen votes into thirty-five?

Senator STEWART - My suggestion is that there should be no vote at all.

Senator Millen - Irrespective of whether the amendments are relevant or not ?

Senator STEWART - Of course, they would be relevant to the original Act, but they might not be relevant to the amending Bill. Surely honorable senators can see what I am driving at.

Senator Pearce - The honorable senator led us astray by saying that this proposal went too far. Now he wishes to go much further.

Senator STEWART - I did not say anything of the kind. Either I must have expressed myself in a very indistinct manner

Senator Findley - Did not the honorable senator say that the proposal was going too far in the wrong direction?

Senator STEWART - Probably I did. I say that honorable senators ought to be permitted to move amendments which are not relevant to the Bill before the Senate, but which are relevant to the original Act, merely by giving notice of those amendments before the Bill has passed its second reading.

Senator Millen - Would it not be hampering honorable senators too much to insist upon relevancy?

Senator STEWART - I do not think so. The procedure laid down in the proposed standing order is that notice of an instruction to a Committee of the whole must be given, and the motion must be carried by fifteen affirmative votes. Why should that be necessary?

Senator Turley - To save waste of time.

Senator STEWART - It may be the cause of wasting a great deal of time. In any case I am astounded to hear Senator Turley talk about waste of time. What are we here for but to manufacture new Acts of Parliament, and to put old ones into the crucible? We must progress with the times. Aswejourney through life we probably get broader and better views. Seeing that we have made a departure in the right direction, I think that we ought to go a little further, and place no obstruction in the way of honorable senators who wish to submit amendments. I would ask you, sir, if it is competent for me to move an amendment in the proposed standing orders?

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