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Wednesday, 23 July 1930

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon W Kingsmill - One or two matters have been referred to which concern the Standing Orders, aud the constitutionality of the matter should be considered. Primarily, the root of the trouble lies in the inefficiency of our Standing Orders, which, as I have pointed out to honorable senators on a former occasion, and again do so now, require amendment. Standing Order 194 provides, inter aiia, that amendments may be moved to the question, " That the bill bc now read a second time " by leaving out " now," and adding " this day six months," which, if carried, shall finally dispose of the bill ; or by referring the bill to a select committee; or the previous question may be moved. With all due deference to those who framed that Standing Order - and I understand that the reference to the select committee was provided for by a chance amendment moved in the Senate when the proposed Standing Orders were brought up - to move at that stage to refer a bill to. a select committee is decidedly unconstitutional. I do not know of any Parliament other than the Federal Parliament that permits this to be done. The second reading of a bill is the stage at which its principles are considered.

Our procedure at this stage is quite different from that of State Parliaments. When the second reading of a bill has been carried in, say, the Western Australia Parliament, the motion is made " that the President do leave the Chair for the purpose of considering the bill in committee." The principle of the bill having been accepted, that motion affords an opportunity for a direct amendment, to refer the bill to a select committee. And at subsequent stages the bill may be referred to a select committee. I should like an expression of the Senate's opinion on the subject at some future date.

Another matter to which I desire to refer concerns the money available to the committee. Yielding to a request for economy, I approved, when considering the Senate estimates, of the provision of £25 only for select committees. In view of a recent happening, the President - and 1 presume the Speaker will do the same - must place upon the Estimates a sum which is manifestly as sufficient for the service of select committees as the sum that I have mentioned ib obviously insufficient.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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