3rd Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator KEATING laid upon the table the following paper: -
Lands Acquisition Act1906. - Flinders, Victoria : Postal Purposes. - Notification of the Acquisition of Land.
[2.32]. - I understand that no definite announcement as to the formation of a new Government can be made, and, therefore, I move -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until Wednesday next.
– The purpose of this motion is well understood, and, no doubt, it will be passed without a dissentient voice. I take advantage of this opportunity to invite the outgoing Minister, if it is still within his power, or the incoming one, to expedite a piece of business, which must necessarily be the first to occupy our attention when we re-assemble. It has been announced that a conditional contract has been made by the out-going Government for the purchase of a site in London, and, I understand, that the option is granted for a limited time.
– The time has been extended, as I shall announce presently.
– There is a fixed date on which the option will expire. It would greatly convenience honorable senators, I am sure, if the full particulars of the transaction could be made available by means of a printed document before we are called upon to vote in approbation, or otherwise, of the Government’s action.
– The announcementin regard to the formation of a new Ministry will, I assume, be made in the other House on Tuesday, and, if so, it ought to be made simultaneously here. Am I right in that surmise?
– I am hardly in a position to say.
– Should not the Senate be adjourned until the same date as the other House, and the announcement be made here simultaneously ?
– Not necessarily simultaneously.
– The Minister might answer the inquiry of Senator Pulsford before he exercised his right of reply, in case some one else may wish to speak.
– With the consent of the Senate, I have no objection to the Minister replying to the question.
– I am not in a position to state exactly what the arrangements of the incoming Government will be, or whether they will be ready by Tuesday to make an announcement. I did, however, consult the prospective leader of the Senate, and it seemed to him that Wednesday next would be a convenient day to which to adjourn.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [2.35]. - I do not think that the Vice-President of the Executive Council has quite appreciated the point put to him.
– I did, but I cannot reply otherwise.
– I desire to say a few words in elucidation of the question Senator Pulsford put. It is anticipated that the meeting of the Senate next week will be purely formal.
– It may or may not.
– I cannot say.
– We may be called upon to deal at once with the purchase of the London site.
– My honorable friend knows perfectly well that when the formation of a new Ministry is announced the customary and constitutional course is that they should have an adjournment for such reasonable time as they may suggest.
– If they want it.
– I think that the new Ministry will want an adjournment. The only doubt in my mind is whether they will not want a great deal more than the customary week, but I intend to befriend them in that way by giving them as much latitude as is proper. I take it that there must be a similar intimation made in the other House today, and if an adjournment of that House is desired until Tuesday, with a view to an announcement being made regarding the formation of the new Ministry - which I am sure will be completed by that time - we might just as well adjourn until the same day. If a further adjournment should then be asked for, the two Houses can dispose of the request, and so we need not have the spectacle of one branch of the Legislature sitting on one day, and what persons outside think is the subordinate branch bringing up the rear on the following day. That is what I think” Senator Pulsford had in view.
– I recognised that.
– If the other House is to re-assemble on Tuesday I suggest to my honorable friend - with the concurrence of those who are concerned in the matter - that the Senate should meet on the same day, because we do not want to come back from other States on different days. It would be better to meet on Tuesday.
– When I consulted Senator McGregor, he suggested an adjournment until Wednesday, and it is my duty to yield to any suggestion which he has to make.
– Why did the honorable gentleman consult Senator McGregor?
– This is not the first time that the Vice-President of the Executive Council has consulted the leader of the Opposition and myself with regard to an adjournment of the Senate. There was nothing wonderful in the Minister asking me when I entered the Chamber, what adjournment would be the most advisable. If I mentioned an adjournment until Wednesday next, it was because it is a sitting day, according to the Sessional Orders. If the announcement regarding the formation of a new Government is made on Tuesday in another place, there is nothing to prevent a similar announcement being made here on Wednesday next. It was out of regard for the convenience of honorable senators, and pursuant to the sessional order, that I suggested an adjournment until Wednesday next.
– I desire to consult the convenience of honorable senators.
– In order to arrive at the opinion of the Senate I move -
That the words “Wednesday next” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ Tuesday next at three p.m.”
– I think that in the peculiar circumstances of the occasion the amendment is a very appropriate one. If the ordinary course of business were followed, the House of Representatives would meet on Tuesday and adjourn, probably, for a week, and should the motion be carried without amendment the Senate would meet on the Wednesday, and probably adjourn until the following Wednesday. We are aware that honorable senators come here every week from the other States to attend the sittings of Parliament, and I suggest to the VicePresident of the Executive Council and to the incoming Government that it would be more suitable if both Houses met next week on the same day. The business could be completed in both Chambers on that day, and they could then adjourn until the following week.
– I think the amendment deserves careful consideration. So far as we can gauge business in this and another place, a most important announcement-
– If it will save time, I will accept the amendment.
– I am agreeable.
Question - That the words proposed to be left out be left out - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 19
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative.
[2.48]. - I move -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
In submitting the motion I should like to say that the Government have been able to secure an extension of time for the confirmation, or otherwise, of their negotiations for a tentative contract as to the purchase of the Trafalgar Square site for Commonwealth offices. Speaking from memory, I believe that the timehas been extended (until the 25th inst. I apprehend that the meeting of the Senate on Tuesday will be merely formal, and that an announcement as to the constitution of the new Ministry will then be made. Following upon the suggestion of Senator Millen, I think I shall be justified in the meantime in endeavouring to secure the. particulars which have been asked for by the honorable senator and other honorable senators as to the acquisition of the proposed site. I feel justified in hoping that the statement will be ready when we meet on Tuesday next.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 2.50 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 12 November 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1908/19081112_senate_3_48/>.