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Thursday, 21 June 1906

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - I had anticipated that the representatives of the Government would have said something before I spoke. I merely desire to indorse the remarks made by my colleague, Senator Neild, when he affirmed that it was necessary to do something more than pass resolutions. The Minister of Defence has said that it is unnecessary to pass this motion ; but he overlooks the fact that, although, in this particular form, it has only been once before submitted to the Senate, there have been other occasions when the same mistake or offence has been committed It was the same in principle, if somewhat different in form, and for that reason I agree with Senator Neild that the time has really arrived when we ought, not merely to place a motion of this kind on record, but to do so with the determination to carry it out as far as we individually and collectively can. Judging from the fact that the Minister of Defence has not risen to speak, he appears to think that the statement which he made the other day will be sufficient. To my mind, it was sufficient whenhe made it, and I was content to let it rest" with that assurance of the Government that the lapse would not be allowed to occur again. But, after listening to the remarks of my honorable friend, Senator Neild, I can but congratulate him on bringing the matter forward in this form. It will probably be remembered that, in speaking on the Address-in-Reply. I pointed out that little by little the power of the Senate was being whittled away, and that we were gradually drifting into a. position in which we were in danger of being regarded as a subordinate House. It is our duty to put it on record that the Senate insists upon having its rights and privileges recognised and safeguarded. I accepted the assurance of the Government the other day that in future the representatives of the Ministry in the Senate will take care that what Ave complain of is not repeated, and I feel satislied that Senator Hayford will have due regard to our rights. But, notwithstanding that, I trust that the motion will be carried unanimously.

Senator WALKER(New South Wales) £4.52]. - Mv own impression is that mistakes such as have been complained about would not occur if there were in the Senate a fair share of Ministers holding portfolios. Although the Senate consists of half as many members as the House of Representatives, there are six Ministers with portfolios in the other House, whilst there is only one here. Had we had our fair share of representation in the Cabinet, or had we even had two porrtolioed Ministers in the Senate, it would hare been impossible for both of them to overlook the glaring mistake which has been made. I trust that the motion will be carried, and that, as long as the present Minister of Defence is in office, no repetition of the mistake will be made. It is unpleasant to have to stand up for the privileges of our House, but it is our duty to see that the Constitution is loyally observed

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