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Monday, 18 December 1911

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - I shall put the first part of the request to the Committee.

Senator Chataway - I rise to a point of order, sir. Sub-item a has not been placed before the Committee, and I want to know whether the request is in order?

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Subitem a is . placed before the Committee by this request.

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir AlbertGould.. - It is not a question of whether sub-item a is placed before the Committee or not which Senator Chataway wished to raise, but whether the request is in order.

Senator Pearce - Are you going to raise a point of order now?

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir AlbertGould. - I am.

Senator Pearce - It is the dirtiest thing which has ever been done in the Senate.

Senator Millen - Wait and see what is coming before you talk like that. Keep your temper under control.

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir AlbertGould. - I do object to a silly and an impertinent interruption, because every honorable senator has the right to address the Committee. If the Minister will bear that fact in mind, we may get along much more smoothly.

Senator Pearce - Raising a point of order after a promise is given.

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir AlbertGould. - The only thing which has been submitted by the other House is an amendment to omit the first line of item 177, and to insert in its stead certain words, and also to omit the whole of sub-item g. I contend that the amendment does not enable the Committee to deal with portions of the item which have not been submitted for our consideration in the Bill. Inother words, it raises the old question as to whether, when an amending Bill is submitted, it is possible to amend the principal Act in matters which have not been referred to the Committee in the amending Bill. We have exactly the same position here, Honorable members in another place have amended item 177 in the way indicated in the schedule to this Bill, and we areasked to say whether we agree to. what is proposed. I submit that we have no right to deal with any part of item 177 other than those which are before us in this Bill. I can readily understand that honorable senators may fall into some error in dealing with these matters by reason of the fact that we have before us a document including the provisions of the existing Tariff, as well as the amendments of it proposed in this Bill. We have no more right to consider sub-items a and b of the existing Tariff than we should have to consider, for instance, items 173, 174, 175, or 176, which are not included in this, schedule at all. I contend that we can only deal with item, 177 as it has been submitted to us in the schedule to this Bill. The question of a duty on articles included in sub-items a and b, of item 177, has not been referred to us by another place.

Senator Pearce - The question was raised earlier in the day, not as to whether we could take into consideration sub-items between two parts of an item dealt with in the Bill, but as to whether we could go back to the heading of a particular item. The Chairman ruled that we could do so. There was no dissent from that ruling, and it was accepted by the Committee. We have a much more simple matter before us now. Item 177 is before the Committee in the shape of an amendment of the heading of the item by omitting parts thereof, and also by an amendment omitting a sub-item. The effect of the omission of that sub-item will be that the articles dutiable under it will fall under sub-items a and b, and I ask honorable senators to consider the position in which the Committee would be placed if it were to be ruled that we can omit a sub-item, but cannot follow the articles dutiable under it into the sub-items under which they will fall by reason of its omission. The whole of item 177 is before the Committee. I thought the honorable senator intended to raise the point that the request could not be submitted at this stage. If he had done so, I intended to point out that Senator Millen's request has only just been dealt with, and the proposition before the Committee now is to amend item 177 in a particular way. It is proposed in the schedule to amend the item in a certain way, but surely the Committee can amend it in another way, if honorable senators see fit.

Senator Fraser - We can only amend the amendment submitted to us.

Senator Pearce - That would be ridiculous. It would be an admission that another place is supreme, that it may mould an item of the Tariff as it pleases, and that the Senate can deal only with the matter submitted to it by the House of Representatives.

Senator Millen - I very much regret that, on the point of order being raised, the Minister of Defence should immediately assume that some unfair tactics were being indulged in by honorable senators on this side.

Senator Pearce - I think that the point of order might have been raised before the agreement was arrived at.

Senator Millen - I remind the honorable senator that that would not have made the slightest difference. If the point of order be fatal now, it would be fatal then. 1 resent the Minister's interjection when Senator Gould was speaking for the simple reason that I do not think the point of order taken is tenable. The view 1 take is, that the* mere proposal that we should delete sub-item g raises the question as to what is to become of generators covered by that sub-item if it be omitted. The answer is, that they will fall under sub-items a and b, and I contend that when it is proposed to transfer these articles from subitem g to sub-items a and b, we should know what duty will be imposed upon them under those sub-items. It seems to me that, on this account sub-items a and b, of item 177, are brought under our review. This case is very different from the point previously raised, when it was proposed to deal with an article contained in an item which was not brought under our review by this Bill.

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