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Thursday, 6 September 1906

Senator BEST (Victoria) .- I felt somewhat concerned when Senator Keating submitted his motion. I conceive the position' to be this: The report stage of the Bill would have to be disposed of before a call of the Senate was made, so that we might be ready for the third reading. Standing order 233 reauires that -

Before the third reading of any Bill by which an alteration of the Constitution is proposed, there shall be a call of the Senate.

Then it says that -

If the third reading of any such Bill shall not have been carried by an absolute majority of the Senate, the Bill shall be forthwith laid aside without question put, and shall not be revived during the same session.

The position is, therefore, that, before the third reading of any Bill which proposes to amend the Constitution is moved, there must be a call of the Senate, and that implies that we shall have arrived at that stage of the Bill immediately preceding the third reading.

Senator Keating - I do not think so.

Senator BEST - That is the way I should be disposed to read the standing order. If I were in the Minister's position I should not be inclined to run any risk. I personally feel interested in the passage of the Bill, and consequently I should have been pleased if the report stage had been disposed of to-night. Then the motion for the call of the Senate might have been moved to-morrow. The spirit and intention of standing order 233 is that a Bill shall pass every stage except the third reading before the call is made. I suggest that, by leave of the Senate, the Minister should amend his motion, so that the report on the Bill may be considered tomorrow.

Senator Clemons - It is better to be on the safe side.

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