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Wednesday, 13 December 1911

Senator KEATING (Tasmania) . - The concluding remark of the VicePresident of the Executive Council makes it all the more emphatically necessary that the Committee should be informed as to the exact effect of an amendment of this character. If the Minister himself was unaware until he came into the Chamber just now of what the amendment was, surely he cannot reasonably ask us to make it until it is explained to us. I rose principally, however, to draw attention to one circumstance as to which an explanation may be required. The form of the GovernorGeneral's message seems to be unusual. As it was read, it appeared to me to intimate that His Excellency had transmitted this measure to the House of Representatives with a recommendation for an amendment which we are asked to accept. Why was not the message addressed to the Senate and the House of Representatives?

Senator Millen - To which House was the message addressed?

Senator Pearce - To the House in which the Bill was originally introduced.

Senator KEATING - In the event of the Governor-General finding it necessary on any occasion to suggest an amendment, should not his message be addressed to both Houses of the Legislature? This is not a measure in respect of which the Senate's powers of amendment are restricted.

Senator Pearce - Following the precedent set on a previous occasion, the message was sent to the House in which the Bill originated.

Senator KEATING - The only opportunity of dealing with such a matter is in Committee, and I ask Ministers to assure themselves that no course is being taken on this occasion which might hereafter be construed into a justification for not recognising the legislative powers of the Senate in co-ordination with the House of Representatives in regard to such matters.

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