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Thursday, 4 October 1906

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - Before you leave the Chair, sir, I should like, with great respect to you, and with very considerable regret, because I feel that the matter is of very great importance, to dissent fromyour ruling.

The PRESIDENT - I donot think this is my ruling, and the honorable senator cannot dissent from a ruling of the Senate unless he takes the necessary steps.

Senator MILLEN - I wish to explain what I propose to do.

The PRESIDENT - I point out that in the case of a resolution, of the Senate, notice must be given of a motion for its repeal.

Senator MILLEN - But, sir, you have just given a ruling.

The PRESIDENT - No. I only stated the ruling which was adopted last night.

Senator MILLEN - Have you not given a ruling on the specific point taken by Senator Clemons?

The PRESIDENT - Is not that the same ruling which was given last night, and adopted by the Senate?

Senator MILLEN - But we are dealing with a specific ruling.

The PRESIDENT - I only elaborated the ruling given last night, and I do not think it is competent for any honorable

Senator nowto dissent from that ruling, which has become the ruling of the Senate, unless he takes the necessary steps.

Senator Lt Col ' Gould - You gave a ruling last night, and no further action was taken by the Senate. Can it therefore be said that the Senate adopted that ruling?


Senator Lt Col Gould - Can it be said that to allow a ruling to pass unchallenged is to adopt it?

The PRESIDENT - I have always allowed the greatest latitude in the discussion of my rulings, but I certainly think the Senate adopted the ruling to which I refer.

Senator MILLEN - Suppose a case is before the Court, and a decision of one of the lower Courts is not appealed against. A subsequent case on all-fours with the other is brought, and is it to be said that because the first decision was not appealed against there can be no appeal against the second? Certainly no appeal was made againstyour decision last night, but I submit, with all respect to you, sir, that that does not prevent advantage being taken of the opportunity to appeal in this case.

The PRESIDENT - I think so.

Senator MILLEN - Does that mean that once the Senate has passed a ruling from the Chair, it is for all time to be bound by it? '

The PRESIDENT - Certainly not. The Senate can take the proper steps to annul that ruling.

Senator Pearce - How ?

The PRESIDENT - By giving notice to rescind the ruling of the Senate.

Senator MILLEN - There has been no resolution.

The PRESIDENT - If a ruling is given and is not dissented from, is not that equivalent to a resolution of the Senate? Has not that been the practice ever since it has been a Senate?

Senator Pearce - There has been no ruling given on this Bill.

The PRESIDENT - No; but a ruling has been given on the same point.

Senator Lt.-Col.GOULD (New South Wales) [2.23]. - I think the question with which we are confronted now is that if a ruling of the President is acted upon, the Senate is bound to accept that as the decision of the Senate, and if it wishes to do otherwise, must take the course of giving seven days' notice of dissent - from what? A resolution? A resolution must surely involve the putting of some motion and its acceptance. I realize that if last night a motion had been made to dissent from your ruling had been debated, and a decision arrived at to sustain the ruling, it would unquestionably have become a resolution of the Senate. But I submit that in the circumstances it has not become .a resolution of the Senate, and merely stands as an unchallenged ruling, which, when followed up on the second occasion, is .as open to challenge as it was on the first occasion. Lastnight I not was prepared . to take the course of. dissenting from your ruling, because the state of feeling in the Senate was such that it would not have been fair to put such' a question to the test.

The PRESIDENT - I admit that Senator Millen has a perfect right to take the course suggested, but I cannot help saying - and I say it with a good deal of feeling - that when I try to devise means by which the Senate can assert its powers, the very honorable senators who urge me to adopt that course are the first to object to my ruling.

Senator Millen - That does not apply to me.

Senator Clemons - Nor to me.

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