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Thursday, 9 August 1906

Motion (by Senator Keating) proposed -

That the Bill be recommitted for the reconsideration of clauses 1 and 6.

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia) [5.29]. - I wish to ask the Minister not to persevere with his motion for the reconsideration of clause 1. Yesterday we changed the short title of the Bill, and substituted the words, " Lands Acquisition " for the words " Eminent Domain." The short title of the Bill is now " The Lands Acquisition Act 1906." We have already had two divisions on clause 1, and I think that the Minister should give some reason against the short title which has now been introduced into the Bill. The Minister having brought down the Bill with the short title, " Eminent Domain Act," gave reasons for the retention of that title. No one could complain of that as unreasonable. On the other side, we gave reasons why it was an inappropriate title, and as Senator Drakeclearly pointed out, might possibly be a misleading title. The clause was debated on two occasions; on one the existing title was retained, and on' the other we substituted the title now appearing in the Bill We have, therefore, to deal with the measure as though it had come before us with the short title, " Lands Acquisition Act 1906," and what possible objection can there be to that title? Surely before we go back into Committee for the purpose of re-opening the discussion, some reason should be given against the use of the short, clear, and intelligible title, " Lands Acquisition Act." Why should we go back into' Committee to reconsider the, matter simply because, itmay be, the draftsman of the measure has some fancy for the title, " Eminent Domain " ? Is it worthy of the Senate to do that? If there is an objection to the title "Lands Acquisition Act " - and as no objection has yet been urged against it - it ought to have been mentioned. But for the Government to solemnly ask for a recommittal with a view to displace a short title - to which no possible objection can be taken - in favour of the title which was deleted yesterday is, in my experience, unparalleled. It is reducing the proceedings of the Senate to a perfect farce. If the title " Land Acquisition Act " possesses some innate vice, and that is pointed out, good and well. But in the absence of such a reason, surely it is reducing the Senate to a position which it ought not to occupy, to ask it to go back into Committee in order to re-open the question.

Senator Playford - The honorable senator re-opened the question once after the Committee had given a decision.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Ought not that to be enough?

Senator Playford - Why not re-open the question againto-day ?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - We all respect the Minister for his long experience and his other qualities, but has he ever known an instance of "such a thing being done without some objection being taken to the substituted title? If the short title were vicious, I should be the first tosay let it be deleted. The question has been dealt with twice. It was exhaustively dealt with on the original title to which grave objection was taken. With the Minister it is simply a question of preference for the original title, but no objection is taken to the substituted title. Why should we go back into Committee to reconsider that question when the Bill has to go to the other House ? If the Government are wedded to the original title in that House, they will have an opportunity, if they think fit, to seek to restore it. I move -

That " 1 and " be left out.

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