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Thursday, 27 September 1906

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - Before Senator Stewart had submitted his amendment, I had signified my intention to move an amendment upon Senator Drake's proposed new clause, with the object of limiting the special purposes to be covered by it. I had proposed to insert my amendment towards the end of Senator Drake's clause. But, in looking over it again, T think that the amendment would be more suitable if inserted in the earlier portion of it. I therefore ask the support of the Committee in attempting to eliminate the words " a special purpose, " with a view to insert the words, " The purpose of providing a fund for the payment of old-age pensions." If my amendment is adopted, Senator Drake's new clause will read as follows : -

The Parliament of the Commonwealth may for the purpose of providing a fund for the payment of old-age pensions impose duties of Customs or Excise upon goods of a description not liable to Customs or Excise duties on the 1st clay of January, 1907, and may expend for such purpose the whole amount so raised.

Senator Givens - If some other special purpose were suggested in a year or two we should have to make another amendment of the Constitution.

Senator MILLEN - Exactly. I am pleased that the purpose of mv amendment has been so readily grasped. The Government is appealing to our humanity to make this amendment of the Constitution on the plea that it is for the purpose of paying old-age pensions. It is intended to put it before the electors and to appeal to them on that ground. We have no right to appeal to the best instincts of the people of this country - to appeal to their hearts - to do something when the Government leaves itself in the position after it has secured authority to use it for an entirely different purpose. As the Government has asked us to pass this Bill for the purpose of providing a fund for old-age pensions, I want to provide that thev use it for that purpose, and not for something else. My amendment leaves it open for them to carry out their good intention. If- they desire to use the Bill for any other purpose, they ought to say so. I move -

That the amendment be amended by leaving out the words " a special purpose " with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words " the purpose of providing a fund for the payment of old-age pensions."

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