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Tuesday, 2 October 1906

Senator KEATING (Tasmania) (Honorary Minister) . - Last evening, when we were discussing the schedule of the Bill, I promised Senator Clemons that if on the report stage he was prepared to suggest an alternative ballot-paper, and with that object in view desiredto move for a recommittal, I should offer no objection. I recognise - as he does - the difficulty of preparing an alternativeto the ballot-paper submitted in the brief interval that has elapsed since the adjournment of the Senate last evening. I ought to recognise it, because I was kept here threequarters of an hour after the Senate had risen, and I had to be present for some time before it re-assembled this morning. But I would point out that I am now moving "that the report be adopted." If that motion be carried, the Bill will not be removed from the business-paper.

Senator Clemons - But the Minister has a contingent notice of motion.

Senator KEATING - I do not intend to move it.

Senator Clemons - Then it is not proposed to proceed immediately with the third reading of the Bill?

Senator KEATING - No.

Senator Clemons - I did not know that.

Senator KEATING - Honorable senators will recognise that there is some urgency in this matter, inasmuch as the Bill provides the machinery for taking a referendum, which must be taken very soon. It is necessary that that machinery should be properly understood throughout the Commonwealth by the assistant returning officers and other officials connected with the Electoral Department. It is also necessary that the Department should, as soon as possible, have the requisite forms prepared and instructions issued, so that those who will be associated with the working of the measure may become thoroughly acquainted with its provisions. I will ask honorable senators to recollect that fact when we are considering the Bill at a later stage.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Report adopted.

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