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Thursday, 11 December 1930

The PRESIDENT (Senator W Kingsmill (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Yes. Certain motions which have come before the Senate are not open to debate. Standing Order 431 reads: -

The following motions are not open to debate, shall be moved without argument or opinion offered, and shall be forthwith put by the President from the Chair, and the vote taken : -

Reference is made to Standing Orders Nos. 72, 74, 189, 281, 379, 421, 429 and 440. These Standing Orders also refer to motions which must be put without debate, but apparently they do not apply to the motion now before the Chair, namely, the time to be fixed for the resumption of the debate. Accordingly, this motion must be treated as an ordinary motion which may be debated. I remind honorable senators, however, that in the discussion on it, they must confine themselves to the time to be fixed for the resumption of the debate, and must not refer to the merits or demerits of the Central Reserve Bank Bill.

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE (Western Australia) [3.45]. - I move -

That the words " a later hour of the day " be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words " the first Thursday after the Senate re-assembles in 1931".

I am loth to interfere with the placing of business by the Government but I think that, on this occasion, my amendment is warranted, because its purpose is to afford the Senate an opportunity to give to the bill that consideration which its importance demands. When the bill came before the Senate some months ago, this chamber considered it ofsuch consequence as to refer it to a select committee. That committee went to considerable trouble to obtain evidence and data relating to central banking in other countries, and its report was only made available to honorable senators yesterday. We have been sitting long hours dealing with a mass of technical legislation such as income tax bills and other measures, so that we have not had time to consider the report. It is unreasonable to expect the Senate to deal with a measure of such importance at this late stage in the session. Only last night the Leader of the Senate (Senator Daly) intimated that it was the intention of the Government to close Parliament to-morrow night. That leaves us only two days for the consideration of a number of important measures, including the one now before us. Haste in the passing of legislation is at all times to be deprecated. It is particularly undesirable in the consideration of a bill relating to central banking. "We should not be justified in passing this measure in the short space of time now remaining before the Senate rises. The report mentions certain alleged fundamental defects in the hill. These should be thoroughly examined before the Senate passes it. Surely the Leader of the Senate recognizes that we are justified in taking time to thoroughly consider the report of the select committee to discover whether its objections to some of the provisions in the bill can be sustained. I asked a question on this subject to-day, in order to give the Government an opportunity to fix a date for the resumption of the debate after the re-assembly of Parliament next year, and the answer given was that the Government intended to put the measure through. In view of these facts, I ask the Senate to carry my amendment. The action of the Government to-day leaves no other course open to me. If the debate is resumed at a later hour of the day with the object of passing the bill before the Senate rises, we shall not have time to study the report and give adequate consideration to the many technical provisions in the bill.

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