1st Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator DRAKE laid upon the table the following papers : -
Despatches and extracts from proceedings of courts martial with reference to Australian officers in South Africa.
Correspondence with the Liverpool Ship-owners Association resisting the Immigration Restriction Act. coronation celebration bill.
Royal assent to this Bill reported. customs tariff bill.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and read a first time.
– i move -
That the second reading of the Bill stand an order of the day for Friday next. i should have been glad to have moved the second reading of the Bill to-morrow, but there is a good deal of information in the way of statistics which must be brought up to date, and as its preparation could not be entered upon until after the measure had been completed in the other House it is not available to-day. These statistics will be ready by Friday, when I propose to make my statement.
– It seems to me. a perfectly reasonable arrangement which the VicePresident of the Executive Council proposes, because we all know that the speech with whichhe will support his motion for the second reading of the Bill will really be a second or revised Budget speech, bringing up the revenue receipts adjusted with reference to theTariff - the improved Tariff, I may say - as it comes from the House of Representatives. The new material and the new figures, to which he has referred, will all be essential. Of course it was impossible to expect any one either to have themready or to have them mastered in the short time which has been available.. .
– Did I understand the honorable and learned senator to say an improved Tariff ?
– In some respects from my point of view.
– An amended Tariff.
– My honorable and learned friend will deliver his speech on Friday. Ordinarily we should not have the speech in, print until the following Monday week, but I have no doubt that he will take care so to arrange, as was done on a former occasion - I think in connexion with the Electoral Bill - that his speech, which, of course, will be all important for our consideration, shall be available to us as part of this week’s Hansard, or in a separate form.
– That is a matter within the jurisdiction of the President and the Speaker, and we shall see that it is done.
-I am obliged to you, sir. I need not say a word in reference to the absolute necessity for our having the report of the speech in our possession. Any papers or figures to which my honorable and learned friend may refer in the course of his speech - including those which have been already laid before the House of Representatives, and, no doubt, have been in our possession for some months, but which are not readily available - might be furnished to us again if it can be done without inconvenience or expense. It would save a great deal of time. I arn sure that we all desire, as far as possible, consistently with our public duty, to expedite the progress of this important measure.
– I agree with Senator Symon that we all desire to save time, and if we are to do that, I see no objection to the very reasonable request that Senator O’Connor should postpone his second-reading speech until Friday, particularly as he has to get certain statistics and figures to enable him intelligently to perform his duty. I should like to ask whether such postponement will necessitate a longer adjournment than is usual into next week. We have had the Tariff before us in print and in Hansard for ever so long. AVe all must, of necessity, have thought very much about the Tariff, and we ought to be able to go on with the second-reading debate early next week.
– Is not that rather anticipating ?
– I understand there is 11 suggestion that we shall not meet next week until Thursday. If the Senate should wish not to meet until that date, Senator O’Connor might make his second - reading speech to-morrow, and if he has not all the facts and figures that he would like to lay before us he could supplement his speech on Wednesday next.
– Supplement a secondreading speech - how ?
– He has only one secondreading speech.
– My honorable and learned friends forget that Senator O’Connor can move the second reading of the Bill to-morrow, and furnish a great number of facts and figures on a subsequent occasion.
– I do not intend to move the second reading before Friday.
– My honorable and learned friend has answered my question. I hope that no proposal will be made to adjourn the Senate until next Thursday week. It was a kind of unwritten understanding that when the Tariff came up the Senate should meet on Tuesday, but now honorable senators are to be brought from Adelaide, Tasmania, and Sydney simply to sit on Thursday, and on Friday until 4- o’clock. We are beginning in a very bad way indeed to save time. It will put me to inconvenience to be kept here very much longer. I hope we shall not lose a single day next week.
– I observe that Senator O’Connor has moved the first reading of the Customs Tariff Bill, but not the first reading of the Excise Tariff Bill.
– Because I cannot move the first reading of both Bills at the same time.
– Only one Bill has been sent to us.
– Is the Ministergoing to move the first reading of the Excise Tariff Bill to-day 1 All I wish to make sure of is that when the main debate c’omes on we shall have the two Bills before us.
– The Bill has just come up from the other House.
– Both Bills will run in double harness.
– If Senator O’Connor finds it desirable to delay the delivery of his speech until Friday, we ought, without a moment’s hesitation, to accede to his request. At the same time, the recognition of the heavy character of the work which he has to master is also some guide as to the extent to which honorable senators may have to enter upon new details and new figures which will be available. If it becomes necessary to delay the meeting of the Senate next week for a day or two it will probably be time well spent. We must begin well, and, after we have made a good beginning, I shall be quite ready to have regular sittings from the Tuesday to the Friday.
– I agree with Senator Dobson that we ought to use all despatch in dealing with the Tariff. Senator Pulsford says that we ought to begin well. I do not suppose that any honorable senator knows better what he means to do with regard to the Tariff than he does. My mind is pretty well made up, as I think the minds of most honorable senators are. We have all, I presume, been following the debates in the ‘other House.
– We have enough to do with our own duties.
– If we have not, then we ought to have been doing so. It is our duty as public men not only to look after the business of the Senate, but to- keep a very keen eye on what is being done in the other Chamber. Probably I do not know quite so much about these subjects as some honorable senators do, and therefore, for my own information, I have been compelled to follow the debates in the other House so as to prepare myself for the passage of the Tariff through this Chamber. That being the case, and seeing that we have been sitting here for about twelve months, the Tariff should be passed through the Senate as speedily as possible. I will not say that it should be passed in a hurry ; neither do I want to have any undue delay. But why should there be a proposal to adjourn till Thursday of next week 1 Why can we not meet next Tuesday and deal with the Tariff right away? I am sure that the leader of the Opposition would be prepared to make his reply to the VicePresident of the Executive Council on Tuesday.
– I do not think that would expedite the passage of the Tariff.
– I do not see why not. Why should we delay week after week, and dawdle with our business in this fashion ? I suppose that Senator O’Connor will be guided in his decision by the majority of honorable senators, and I hope that those who do not believe in an adjournment from Friday to Thursday will express their opinions to that effect.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill received from House of Representatives, and read a first time.
– I move-
That the second reading of the Bill stand an order of the day for Friday next.
With reference to some observations which have been made, I may remark that I am only asking for an adjournment till Friday next. When I have made my speech, I shall take care that the different matter’s Senator Symon has referred to shall be attended to, so that honorable senators may have all the information which it is possible to give them in their hands at that time. If it is not practical to give them the information immediately, it will be done as soon after as possible. With regard to the general question of the urging on of the Tariff I need hardly say that I am anxious - as we all are - to expedite business in the utmost possible degree. At the same time, there are modes of expedition ; and when the matter is considered on Friday I shall ask the Senate to do what under all the circumstances is reasonable.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That the Senate at its rising adjourn until Friday next.
The reasons for making this motion must be obvious. In addition to those which have already been stated, I may add that as far as I am personally concerned, it will he necessary for me to devote all the time between now and Friday to the preparation of the matter which I deem it my duty ‘to put before the Senate in moving the second reading of the Bill.
– Would it not be possible to put in the remainder of the week, between now and Friday, in dealing with private members’ business ? The whole of the business appearing on the paper in the names of private members is of some importance. There is the question of assurance against accident, the question of old-age pensions - which is a very live question in all the States - and my own notice ofmotion dealing with the tobacco monopoly. These are all matters of interest to the country. It seems to me that no later opportunity will arise to discuss these questions. Those honorable senators who have come over from South Australia and New SouthWales will be here for the rest of the week. Why drop one sitting day when there is business to be disposed of ? If I had thought we were not to have an opportunity of discussing private members’ motions, I should not have put one on the paper. I put it there in the belief that the Senate would give me the first opportunity that arose of dealing with the matter. There is no reason why we should not meet to-morrow. The Vice-President of the Executive. Council need not be here. The Postmaster-General can represent the Government on the questions affected.
– Could not the honorable senator occupy his time in studying the Tariff?
– A good deal of the time .so spent might be wasted, because whatever opinions we arrived at by such study might have to l>e modified after hearing the speech of the honorable and learned senator. I am prepared to go on with the notice of motion standing in my name. I have been at considerable trouble to collect material which is well worthy of the consideration of the Senate, and I should like the Government to give me an opportunity of discussing it.
– I cun warmly sympathize with any honorable senator who is personally interested in a matter appearing on the business-paper, which matter has been delayed from month to month. But-the pressure upon us is of such a character as warrants us in asking the honorable senator to be good enough not to press on a rather jaded Senate new business in view of what is before us. There arc also a number of honorable senators who, believing that the Senate was not going to proceed with any business to-day, arc not present. Therefore it could not be expected that proper justice would be done to any proposal standing in the name of a private member this week, or until the Tariff is finally dealt with. Consequently, in the interest of the very motion to which Senator Pearce refers, it is desirable that Senator O’Connor’s proposal should be agreed to.
– i support the view taken by Senator Pearce. A number of the experienced members of the Senate took rather an unfair advantage of the younger members when private members’ day was given up to the Government. Honorable senators like Senator Playford, who, as Ministers of the Crown, have on various occasions found fault with private members for bringing forward matters which the Government thought were in their particular domain, may dismiss private members’ day as quite superfluous. But those of us who look at the subject in a different light, and feel that at any time we may have to bring up a matter concerning our particular States, and may have to do so by the grace of honorable senators who may feel inclined to stop us in the course of our remarks - just as I was about to be stopped the other day when I brought up a question on the motion for adjournment - -See the value of private members’ day. If there had been a private members’ day, I could have brought up the matter in question in the form of a motion, and had it fairlydiscussed . The Government have not treated private members fairly in taking away their day. We could have spent some of our time in the past to more advantage in discussing private members’ business than by listening to a recitation of Tommy Atking But there is a more important matter on the business-paper than private members’ business. I refer to the Government business ‘ standing under the heading of “ standing orders.” In all probability during the discussion on the Tariff, critical situations may arise between the Senate and the House of Representatives. Have the Government any method of dealing with differences between the two Houses 1 Provision is made under the proposed standing orders for dealing with differences of opinion that may arise between the two branches of the Legislature. A fair way of occupying the time would be to discuss the motion on the paper and adopt the proposed new standing orders temporarily. Then everything would go on swimmingly on Friday with- regard to Senator O’Connor’s speech on the Tariff. Senator Pulsford has spoken of the jaded members of this Senate. I am sure that the honorable senator during the last week or so has exhibited a surprising buoyancy. I never sa w him- so “eager for the fray” in ray life - and that notwithstanding the many quarts of midnight oil that he must have consumed in preparing his statistics, averages, percenages, and so forth. Senator Pulsford is not really a jaded senator, nor are there many other jaded members of the Senate at the present. We may become jaded in a week or two, after we have “ got going “ upon the Tariff. At present, however, we are quite equal to discussing private members’ business and the standing orders, and should then be ready for the Tariff when it comes before us.
– In reply - I fully sympathize with the view which has been expressed relative to private members’ business, but I think that if Senator Pearce and Senator- Higgs will reflect for a moment they will agree that the Senate has been occupied on public business, and occupied fruitfully, during the whole time that it has been sitting. There-has been no opportunity of dealing with private members’ business up to the present time. The question which Senator Pearce has to consider is whether he would like the motion standing in his name on the notice-paper - and undoubtedly it is an interesting one, although it may not have any immediate urgency - to be discussed in the thin House which we should have probably if we attempted to discuss private members’ business to-morrow. There is a certain amount of private members’ business on the noticepaper, but I do not think that any of it is very urgent. It seems to me that it would be hardly fair to bring back the whole Senate simply to consider a few matters which might be better discussed when there was ample time to deal with them. I am fully alive to the fact that a great deal of trouble has been taken in the preparation of the standing orders ; they form a code which I hope the Senate will adopt very soon, but it appears to me that it would be useless to spend any time upon them to-morrow. They require considerable attention, and may-be, before the session closes, we will have time to deal with and carry them. I hope it will be so. At present it seems tome that it would be useless to enter upon their consideration for one day.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 3.3 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 23 April 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020423_senate_1_9/>.