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Monday, 18 December 1911

The PRESIDENT - I understand that the position as stated by the Temporary Chairman is that, upon item 177, a request for an amendment was moved, which was defeated. After that, the Minister of Defence submitted a request for an amendment to add to the end of sub-item a certain words. Objection has been taken that the item is not under consideration, and it has been pointed out by Senator Chataway that, in considering such a provision," the practice has been to prevent the Committee from going back upon anything that it has done. But I would point out that it is not proposed that the Committee should go back upon anything that it has done. In regard to what Senator Keating has said, I cannot find any record in our procedure relating to Tariff matters of any objection having been taken to the Committee dealing with a particular matter under the heading of the item which was under consideration at the time. Senator Gould has contended that if the Committee were allowed to deal with item 177, and decided to request the imposition of an increased duty upon it, the House of Representatives, seeing that it would not have power to amend it under the Bill as introduced, would not have power to amend it at the request of the Senate. But I would point out that on two or three occasions the Senate has requested an increase in the duty upon particular items which were not touched by the other branch of the Legislature, and that it has agreed to those requests, and amended the Tariff accordingly. The Committee would be stultified if it were not allowed to deal with items which are specifically mentioned in the Bill. Senator Gould asked me to suppose that the articles mentioned in subitem g had some connexion with items which are not mentioned in the schedule at all, such as items 80 and 81 of the Tariff. I submit that the Committee would not have power to deal with them, but, as item 177 is under consideration, no question is involved of the Committee going back upon anything that it has previously done. In the interests of freedom of consideration by the Senate, I am of opinion that the request proposed by the Minister is in order, and that the Temporary Chairman was perfectly right in ruling to that effect.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould -Before you leave the Chair, sir, am I to understand that, under your ruling, the whole of item 177 is open for consideration ? There are a number of other items which occupy a similar position, and I should like to be clear on the point.

The PRESIDENT - In the Bill, no sub-items, save sub-item g of item 177, is mentioned. The remaining sub-items are only set out in the paper which has been issued for the information of honorable senators. If, according to my ruling, item 177 is open for consideration, certainly the whole of it will be open for consideration.

In Committee:

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