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Friday, 6 December 1912

Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - I hope it will be remembered that the Printing Committee was appointed to examine all papers, and, for the information and benefit of honorable sena tors, to select those which, in their opinion, should be printed.

Senator Millen - But you will not dispute the right of the Senate?

Senator McGREGOR - I am not questioning the right of the Senate,- but it has as much right to back up the Printing Committee as it has to take the opinion of any honorable senator who, for any purpose, may desire to send any matter back to that body. There are times when the Printing Committee may fail to recommend the printing of some document which is of very great interest to honorable senators, and every honorable senator may desire to go fully into the paper. But can any honorable senator state truthfully that he would read these four papers when they were printed ? No. Would it not be a farce, then, to put the Commonwealth to the cost of printing the papers? The Printing Committee is expected to exercise its judgment, which it has done in this matter. It has been clearly pointed out where all the information desired can be obtained in a far better way than by sending this report back to the Printing Committee. If any honorable senators wish to learn all the transactions about the purchase of land or the erection of buildings they have only to open the digest of the' Minister of Home Affairs, where the facts are stated in a far better form than could be done in a printed 'paper. Any matters which may not be contained in the digest can be found in Hansard.Senator Stewart says that he would not like to carry Hansard about with him. I can assure him that the Hansard, containing all the information he requires, is less bulky than the papers which he asks should be printed.

Senator Millen - Hansard does not contain it all.

Senator McGREGOR - Hansard is printed in a much handier form than is a parliamentary paper, can be carried about easily, and is far better indexed. I do not believe that those who are going to vote for the report to be sent back to the Printing Committee have the least intention of reading these papers if printed.

Senator Sayers - It is no reflection on the Printing Committee.

Senator McGREGOR - Does not every honorable senator know that it is a reflection on that body?

Senator Vardon - I am a member of the Printing Committee, and I do not look upon it as a reflection.

Senator McGREGOR - I take it as a reflection, unless honorable senators could show to the Printing Committee that it has made an error. No information has been given here which would show to me, or, I hope, to a . majority of the Senate, that the Printing Committee has erred in its judgment.

Senator Vardon - As a member of the Printing Committee, I do not look upon it as "a reflection.

Amendment negatived.

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