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Wednesday, 29 November 1911

The PRESIDENT - When I heard this amendment read I was inclined to the opinion that there might be an objection taken to it on the ground of irrelevancy. So far as I have been able to ascertain, the practice of the Senate, which I have fol lowed since I occupied this position, has been not to confine amendments, as honorable senators have often supposed, to the twoparticular questions stated in standing order 189. Amendments have been proposed, which, if considered relevant, have been admitted as amendments on the second reading of a Bill asking, for instance, that: certain things should be done by this or that authority, and that certain information should be supplied to Parliament before the Bill was further proceeded with. One of these precedents was laid down inconnexion with a similar measure that wasbefore the Senate on 23rd August, 1905. An amendment was moved on the motion for the second reading of the Kalgoorlie toPort Augusta Railway Survey Bill. Theamendment was to leave out all the wordsafter the word "be" in the question, " That this Bill be now read a second' time," with a view to insert the words - " not further considered until evidence that theParliament of South Australia has formally -consented to the Commonwealth constructing that portion of the proposed line which would be in. South Australian territory has been laidon the table of the Senate."

That amendment was accepted as being perfectly relevant to the measure. I should, like to say that had the request for information not been confined to South Australia, but had included also Western Australia, the amendment would have been equally relevant to the Bill. I have compared Senator Millen's amendment with the amendment to which I have just referred, and I have come to the conclusion that it is relevant to the subject-matter ofv the Bill which we have now under consideration. It sets out that before the Bill is further proceeded with information should be given to the Senate which it isnot in possession of now regardingthe proposed route, the cost of construction, the probable revenue and expenditure, and the interest charge; and, further, that the Governments of the two States interested should be approached with a view to deciding whether they are prepared to secureto the Commonwealth some portion of any value which may be added to the landsin their respective States by the construction of this railway. Believing that this amendment is relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill, I must rule that it is in order.

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