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Wednesday, 19 September 1906

Senator STEWART (Queensland) . - I desire to know -whether it will, be possibles, after {the Bill is recommitted, to amend the proposed addition, or whether we must accept it as it stands ; that is, whether it will be in order to move an amendment on the amendment?

The PRESIDENT - The honorable senator will see that the Committee has only a delegated power. It is proposed to delegate to the Committee the power to consider, and, if the Committee thinks fit, to add a certain proviso; and the Committee will be confined to the power which has been remitted to it. I do not say that this is at all an ordinary method of procedure, but I can see nothing to prevent the Senate adopting this method if it so desires.

Senator Col Neild - There is a standing order which says that any motion may be debated and amended.

The PRESIDENT - If the Committee has only a certain power delegated to it, the 'Committee cannot go beyond that power.

Senator STEWART - I understand the ruling to be that when the Senate goes into

Committee we cannot consider anything but what is specified in the motion now before us?

The PRESIDENT - That is whatI understand.

Senator STEWART - That being so, what I have to say had better be said now. Senator Clemons says that the motion does not represent all that he desires ; but, since it represents all that it is possible to obtain, he is prepared to accept it. In my opinion, the Government are giving away nothing by conceding this proposal. We know perfectly well what will happen. The Government will spend whatever sum over £20,000 they may consider necessary, and will then come down with a special Bill authorizing the additional expenditure. The money having been spent,. Parliament will be in such a position that it will be able to do nothing but pass the Bill.

Senator Playford - No Government would dare to spend additional money under the circumstances.

Senator STEWART - We know perfectly well how these matters are managed. I suggest that it would be an improvement if the word " first " were inserted, so as to provide that no additional expenditure shall be incurred without a Bill having first been passed by both Houses of Parliament. Government after Government promise that certain moneys shall not be expended without the consent of Parliament - that is an ordinary every-day occurrence in all Parliaments - but the undertaking is never observed in reality. Unless some additional safeguard is provided, I am sure the present Government will act in a similar fashion, and I suggest that the word " first" should be inserted.

Senator Clemons - The Minister can have no objection, because that is really what is meant.

Senator Givens - I ask leave to amend my proposed amendment in. the direction indicated by Senator Stewart, that is, by inserting the word " first " after the word " without."

Senator Playford - I have no objection.

Amendment, by leave, amended accordingly.

Amendment, as amended, agreed to.

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