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Thursday, 2 October 1913

Senator BAKHAP (Tasmania) . - This motion involves an entirely different principle from another which is at present in the hands of a Select Committee of the Senate. That Committee is inquiring into certain allegations of injustice against an individual. I should always be very sorry to refrain from taking any course of action which might lead to giving an allegedly injured individual redress. But I venture to submit respectfully to honorable senators opposite that they are taking a somewhat injudicious course regarding the motion which has been proposed by Senator de Largie. We know that they have a giant's strength, from a numerical point of view. But it is not always wise to use a giant's strength tyrannically. This is a matter of ordinary Ministerial discretion, for which the Minister of Defence is responsible. He did something such as a Minister is called upon to do almost every day.

Senator Pearce - I hope not.

Senator BAKHAP - In this early period of the history of the present Administration, it is absolutely unwise to challenge an act of a Minister which cannot be construed as involving an injustice to an individual. I observe that I am proposed as a member of the Committee. I shall never deviate from the course which I have always taken of showing willingness to participate in Select Committee work. I maintained the same attitude during the four years when I was a member of the House of Assembly of Tasmania. |But, at the same time, I must support the remarks of Senator Millen, believing that it is most injudicious for honorable senators opposite to exercise their numerical strength in this arbitrary manner by appointing a Committee to inquire into a Ministerial Act which involves no possibility of injustice to any individual. It was simply an act of Ministerial discretion. I know that my protest will be ineffectual; but, nevertheless, I enter it, in the belief that the majority are about to resort to an exercise of power from which they should refrain.

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