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Friday, 6 October 1911

Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - When this Bill was before the Senate last session, I moved the second reading, and the debate was adjourned on the motion of Senator Gould. It was quite within the province of any other honorable senator to resume the debate this morning. If I had risen to make an explanation, the President would have taken my speech as a reply upon the whole debate, which would thus have been closed. As there seems to be no inclination to prolong the discussion, I may explain that the Bill is of considerable importance to the Commonwealth Library. The members of the Library Committee have long since recognised the value of the Petherick Collection, and have no desire that by any circumstance they should lose this accession to the knowledge which is at the disposal of the members of this Parliament at all times. Consequently, it is thought desirable that expedition should be exercised, and that we should give effect to the agreement arrived at which can only be ratified by the passage of this short measure. Last session some doubt seemed to exist in the minds of some honorable senators as to the wisdom of ratifying the agreement, but, from what I can learn from members of the Library Committee, and from both Mr. Speaker and the President of the Senate, it appears clear that all difficulties have been removed, and that the Committee are unanimously of opinion that the best thing we can do is to ratify the agreement, which is attached to the Bill. The ratification is included in three clauses. When they are passed into law, the agreement entered into in 1909 between Mr. Petherick and the Commonwealth Parliament will take effect, and all danger of losing this valuable collertion will have been avoided. We shall be in continuous possession of it.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill rend a second time, and passed through Committee without amendment.

Report adopted.

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