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Wednesday, 5 September 1906

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) - - I should like to hear the opinion of Senator Keating on a doubt which has arisen in my mind. This clause lays down the date to which the terms of the two sets of senators shall be extended. The Constitution provides for the possibility of a double dissolution. A doubt has arisen in my mind whether clause 3 of the Bill will become inoperative in the even? of a double dissolution; or whether it could be held that after the passing of this measure the term of those senators who are hereafter elected will expire on the date fixed in the Bill. We lay down a definite date for the retirement of two sets of senators in a certain order, and it appears to me that that date will apply, notwithstanding a double dissolution. At any rate, the Bill is open to that construction. A double dissolution might make the term of some senators shorter. It might happen in the second year ; and those senators who were elected after this amendment of the Constitution might find that their term of service expired at the end of 1909, instead of in 1910. There may be nothing serious in the point, but I should like to know what the effect will be.

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