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Thursday, 27 September 1906

Senator PLAYFORD (South Australia) (Minister of Defence) . - I wishthat Senator Drake had circulated his amendment, so that we might have considered it. I am very muchimpressed with his argument in favour of it, though I do not think that his contention that the proposal of the Commonwealth Government conflicts with sections 89 and 93 of the Constitution is well founded. Section 89 commences, " Until the imposition of uniform duties of Customs." The efficacy of that clause has, therefore, expired. Section 93 relates to payments to the States for the first five years after uniform duties have been imposed. From the point of view of clean drafting, there can be no doubt that the method of the Government is the better, because it shows -what parts of the Constitution are repealed ; and when the Constitution is reprinted, the amendments made will be inserted in it, so that when a person obtains a reprinted copy the state of the law will be absolutely clear upon the face of it. The honorable senator considers it inadvisable to make the amendment in the way proposed by the Government,, on the ground that young children, to whom we are supposed to teach the laws of the land, ought to be made acquainted with all the various alterations which, are made. I, myself,' see no necessity for such a. precaution,, so long as the children are taught the law as it exists. However. I do not oppose the amendment, subject to any revision of terms which may be considered advisable, so long as it covers all that the Government desire. As pointed out, the amendment will have the advantage of placing before the electors a clean-cut issue.

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