Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Friday, 17 August 1906

Senator O'KEEFE (Tasmania) . - - If we adopt the motion of the Minister, we shall merely be following a precedent which has been set on former occasions. It appears to me to be absurd for some honorable senators to have so much regard for their own interests, as opposed to the interests of the public, when we remember that throughout the session the members of another place have been sitting four days a week, whilst we have sat only three, and have had an adjournment for three weeks. There seems to be not the slightest doubt that we shall have sufficient business to keep us occupied four days a week until the end of the session. In addition to the business already on the notice-paper, several measures are in an advanced stage in another place, and will soon be ready to be dealt with by us. I trust that Senator Neild's suggestion that private business should be abandoned will not be entertained at present. No doubt, as the session advances, the time for private business will have to be absorbed by the Government ; but I hope that for a short time longer that will not be necessary. As to Senator Stewart's amendment-

The PRESIDENT - It has not been seconded, and is not therefore before the Senate.

Senator O'KEEFE - S - Senator Stewart's proposal was unnecessary, in any case.

The PRESIDENT - The honorable senator ought not to discuss a proposal that is not before the Senate.

Senator O'KEEFE - T - The motion of the Minister is that the Senate shall sit four days a week " unless otherwise ordered." No matter what motion was carried, the vote of the Senate could at any time alter the number of sitting days.

The PRESIDENT - If the words, " unless otherwise ordered," were not inserted, it would be necessary to rescind the resolution before the sitting days could be again altered.

Senator O'KEEFE - I t I think that it would be competent for the leader of the Government at any time to move that the Senate at its rising adjourn till Wednesday instead of Tuesday.

The PRESIDENT - No ; that would not be competent if the words, " unless otherwise ordered," were not inserted.

Senator O'KEEFE - The The ruling of the President prevents me from continuing that phase of the discussion, but I may remark that there is no power on earth which could make us sit four days a week if the majority of the Senate were determined not to sit more than three.

The PRESIDENT - The Standing Orders distinctly provide that if a resolution has been carried a certain procedure shall be observed in order to rescind it.

Senator O'KEEFE - H - However, the point does not matter very much. I am in favour of the motion as moved, because I am satisfied that it is necessary for us to sit four days a week.

SenatorMILLEN (New South Wales) [10. 56]. - I do not intend to oppose the motion. The responsibility is upon the Government to proceed with business, and to ask the Senate for such time as is considered necessary to enable that business to be dealt with satisfactorily. But I wish to ask honorable senators to consent to alter the motion so as to provide that we shall not sit until 3 o'clock on Tuesday. I am satisfied that there is no desire on the part of any one to inconvenience those who take advantage of the week-end to return home. Meeting at half -past 2 on Tuesdays will be inconvenient to a number of us. We arrive at the railway station at about half- past 1, and it will be recognised that the hour which elapses between that time and the hour of meeting is insufficient to enable one to attend to the little personal comforts which, of course, suggest themselves. I therefore ask the Minister to agree to an alteration to the effect that we shall pot meet until 3 o'clock on Tuesdays. Halfanhour will not make a material difference, whilst the convenience to honorable senators will be considerable.

Senator Playford - I do not object to the suggestion of the honorable senator.

Suggest corrections