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Thursday, 14 June 1906

Senator PLAYFORD (South AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - I believe that all these papers have been printed, and I only moved my first motion in order to be. perfectly sure, thinking, after having looked through the papers, that they were of sufficient public interest to warrant their being printed. I am not sure whether they have been ordered to be printed by the other -House ; but no harm is done by submitting a motion here, and its 'being passed. I beg to lay upon the table the following paper : -

Reports of Board of Inquiry in connexion with charges made in the House of Representatives against Major James Clarence Hawker, R.A.A.

The reports are in print, therefore I shall not move that they be printed.

Senator Higgs - Does the document include the minority report?

Senator PLAYFORD - Yes, both reports.

Senator Col. NEILD(New South Wales) [2.39]. - The Minister says that he does not intend to move that the reports be printed, and states that they are in print. Am I in order, sir, in asking a question ?

The PRESIDENT - There is no motion before the House.

Senator Col NEILD - Perhaps I can put myself in order 'by moving a. motion, and, if necessary, asking leave to withdraw it. I move -

That the reports be printed.

It would appear from the morning press that the majority and minority reports are included in this set of papers, but that the evidence on which they have been based has not been printed by the order of another place. While I do not wish to be understood as cavilling at the result of the inquiry, or the views embodied in the two reports, in respect of which there does not appear to be any very material difference, it does appear to me rather unsatisfactory to give us only the reports without any knowledge oFthe material on which they are based. It may be that they are so strictly in accordance with the evidence that there is nothing to be said in favour of the printing of the evidence, but in a general way, when reports are submitted, I hold that the evidence upon which they are based should be printed too, because it is extremely possible that on some day or other reports will be presented of a character which do not possess appositeness with the evidence on which they are based. Every man who has sat in Parliament for any length of time knows that it not unfrequently happens that reports are prepared and agreed to in a hurry, and that occasionally the finding is not in, agreement with the body of the report.- I know that such a document was presented to the Senate on one occasion.

Senator Higgs - Name.

The PRESIDENT - The honorable senator ought not to pursue this line of argument.

Senator Col NEILD - I do not desire to refer to any particulars, but to point out that there are such cases, as every man with parliamentary experience knows. It is desirable that the evidence should accompany any report that is presented. That is the rule in connexion with the reports of all Select Committees, and also of Royal Commissions, and I know no good reason why the evidence taken by a Board, which is supposed to be the foundation of the report, should not also be printed.

Senator Mulcahy - Does the honorable senator wish to load up the records of Parliament with the evidence concerning every trumpery case which comes along?

Senator Millen - Who is to judge whether a case is trumpery or not?

Senator Col NEILD - A Chamber which attempted to differentiate - to say that in one case it is necessary that the evidence should be printed, and that in another case the evidence need not be printed - would be assuming a judgment upon the case without the facts being known. I think it is desirable that in this case the entire document be printed.

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