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Tuesday, 2 October 1906

Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) . - I trust that the Government will proceed with the Bill, so as to remove it from the notice-paper. It was read a first time on the 20th September, and was distributed among honorable senators immediately afterwards.I have had some experience of referenda, and think that Senator Clemons will agree with me that it is far better to state definitely the question upon which the electors have to vote than to leave it to be formulated by the Government, which would then have ah opportunity to give a party colouring to it. What can be plainer than the form set forth in this Bill? No honorable senator knows what may take place between now and the end of the session. For all we know, if the Bill is postponed, it may become one of the "slaughtered innocents." If Senator Clemons can suggest a better way to state the question on the ballotpaper than that formulated in the Bill, I shall be prepared to help him. But there is a grave danger in allowing the Executive to state the question in its own way. Unless a definite amendment is suggested. I trust that the Government will proceed with the Bill.

Senator Col. NEILD(New South Wales)[10.58]. - I hope that the Government will agree to a postponement of the measure. It is a small matter ; and in view of the fact that we already have on the paper a Bill for the purpose of correcting the ridiculous phraseology of an Act passed last session, the inadvisableness of rushing through the Bill without proper consideration, is apparent, I suggest that the Minister should allow a reasonable postponement, not with a view to delay, but in order to perfect the Bill.

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