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Thursday, 2 August 1906

Senator KEATING (Tasmania) (Honorary Minister) . - I move -

That the Committee approves the agreement made and entered into on the 7th day of July, 1906, between the Postmaster-General, in and" for the Commonwealth, and Sir James Laing and Sons Ltd., for the carriage of mails between Adelaide and Brindisi, as per schedule, with the following modifications : -

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Of course, the Minister does not include the provisos to articles 3 and 15 of the agreement, but intends to move them afterwards? Otherwise some amendments might be shut out.

Senator KEATING - I do not wish to embarrass the consideration of the matter by the Committee. We submit the motion in a form which will enable honorable senators to fully discuss the terms of the agreement. But I think it will meet the general wish if I do not attempt, at any rate at this stage, to repeat any of the' arguments I advanced yesterday when submitting the motion in the Senate. I would say now that after having listened to the expression of opinion from various honorable senators, certain action has been takenby the Government. Honorable senators are, of course, very well aware that this contract, embodying as it does articles of agreement and general conditions of tender, has been signed by Mr. Croker as the representative of the contractors. Since the discussion yesterday, Mr. Croker has been communicated with by the Government, and he himself has communicated with his principals. I am in a position to state to the Committee now that so far as article 6 is concerned'., we shall be in a position to amend it by striking out the last two lines of the article with the exception of the word " shall." That is to say, we shall delete the words -

Failing mutual agreement be determined by arbitration in the manner provided in the said " general conditions of tender."

It is proposed to insert after "shall " the following words : -

Be determined by mutual agreement, subject to the approval , of Parliament by resolution.

I might as well say at this juncture that in order that I might be able to make this statement, it has been necessary for Mr. Croker to communicate by cable with his principals, and he is authorized on their behalf to vary the contract to that extent; and to that extent the contract when ratified will be acceptable to the other parties to it. and may be proceeded with at once.

Senator Pearce - What about article


Senator KEATING - That is all that I can say.

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