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Thursday, 12 December 1912

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister of Defence) . - I ask Senator Lynch not to press his amendment. We are very anxious to expedite the passage of this Bill. If the honorable senator's amendment be agreed to, it will involve another exchange of messages between the two Houses, and I cannot give any guarantee that the Minister of Trade and Customs would recommend another place to accept the amendment. I would ask the honorable senator to consider whether, in view of the valuable principles' contained in this Bill, it is desirable, for the sake of pressing his amendment, to further delay its passage. We are very anxious that the Bill shall be sent to the GovernorGeneral as soon as possible, in order that the Royal assent to it may be obtained. The honorable senator will recognise that some delay will probably take place before the Royal assent is received to the Bill. If the measure has to be sent to Great Britain for the purpose, as I anticipate will be the case, it is very desirable that it should be forwarded as soon as possible. There are some practical difficulties in the way of carrying out what the honorable senator suggests. I am not satisfied that he will effect anything by his amendment. If it is to be the Minister who is to prescribe the kind of library to be provided for seamen, is it intended that he should mention the class of books, the names and values of the books to be provided, and say how they are to be kept? I invite Senator Lynch to imagine the kind of books which Senator St. Ledger would probably prescribe if it ever were the misfortune of this country that that honorable senator should occupy the position of the Minister administering this measure. lt is almost certain that it will be found necessay in a future session to introduce some amendments in a Bill of this character, and, if necessary, this provision might then be amended in the direction suggested by the honorable senator. In the meantime, I ask the honorable senator to give the provision, as amended by the House of Representatives, a trial, especially in view of the desirability of expediting the final passage of the Bill.

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