21 April 1904

2nd Parliament · 1st Session

The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

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Senator FRASER presented a petition from the President of the Central Council of Employers of Australia, praying the Senate not to pass the Navigation and Shipping Bill, but to recommend the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into its probable effects.

Petition received and read.

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Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · Protectionist

– As there is no business set down on the notice-paper for to-morrow, I move -

That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until Wednesday next.

Senator Dobson:

– Why not until Tuesday next?


– I consulted the Prime Minister, and he thinksthat we might as well adjourn till Wednesday.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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What was the enrolled strength of each of the four Volunteer Rifle Regiments of the New South Wales branch of the Commonwealth Military Forces on the 30th June, 1901?

What was the percentage of efficients in each of the said regiments on the 30th June, 1901 ?

The same particulars respecting the same regiments on the 30th June, 1902 ?

The same particulars respecting the same regiments on the 30th June, 1903?

The same particulars respecting the same regiments on the 31st December, 1903?


– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are given in the form of a return, as follows: -

The percentage of efficients in the regiments on the 31st December, 1903, cannot be given, as the number of efficients can only be ascertained at the conclusion of each financial year.


The PRESIDENT laid upon the table the first report of the Standing Orders Committee, which was read by the Clerk as follows: -

The Standing Orders Committee, having considered the paper referred to them, containing “ Remarks and Suggestions on the Standing Orders,” by the Honorable the President, beg to report to the Senate the following resolutions agreed to by the Committee : -

That in any case which may arise which has not been provided for by the rules, or in which the rules appear insufficient or manifestly inconvenient, the President should state to the Senate (after mature consideration, if possible) what, in his opinion, is the best procedure to adopt-, in the event of no objection being taken by the Senate, this shall be the procedure until altered by the Senate.

That at the commencement of each session the President shall present to the Standing Orders Committee a paper formulating and tabulating all the decisions arrived at during last session, giving reasons (if it should be necessary to do so) why, in his opinion, any of his own decisions were incorrect, or any of the decisions of the Senate would lead to inconvenient results.

C. Baker,


Motion (by Senator Playford) agreed to -

That the paper be printed and taken into consideration at the next meeting of the Senate.


Senator PEARCE:
Western Australia

– I ask leave of the Senate to transfer my notice of motion for to-day relative to the adoption of the day labour system to this day fortnight.


– It will be put down for that day.

South Australia

– If this is being done with a view to the re-arrangement of business, would it not be very much simpler and better if Senator Playford were to move - subject, of course, to the assent of private senators who have notices’ of motion on the paper - any motion which he intends to make? If he will intimate to the Senate the course which he intends to take, possibly the business in the names of private senators could be re-arranged by one motion.

Senator PLAYFORD (South AustraliaVicePresident of the Executive Council). - I understand that no honorable senator desires to go on with private business to-day, and it may simplify matters very much if I submit a motion for the re-arrangement of private business. I move -

That private business, notices of motion, and orders of the day be notices of motion and orders of the day for Thursday next, and that Government business, orders of the day be orders of theday for Wednesday next.

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - There is a matter arising out of the present order of business on the paper which I should like to see rectified if possible. Owing to an adjournment of the Senate the order of private business has been disturbed, and with the consent of the Senate the motion which I had moved relative to old-age pensions, although it is an order of the day, is set down for a Thursday, when notices of motion have precedence of orders of the day. I desire this business to be set down, as was intended, for a Thursday when orders of the day take precedence of notices of motion. Although’ it was the first notice of motion from a private senator, still, so long as notices of motion are handed in it will be postponed until it goes off the paper altogether. The President has ruled that days when the Senate did not sit shall not be counted, and, therefore, to-day I cannot say on what Thursday orders of the day will have precedence.


– Perhaps I may explain this matter. I find that on Thursday, 3rd March, a sessional order was passed providing that, orders of the day (private business), should have precedence of notices of motion on alternate Thursdays. The business paper was accordingly arranged thus -

but on the 17th March, on which day motions had precedence, the Senate, at the commencement of the proceedings, resolved to adjourn, at its rising that day, until the 13th April. I read the expression “alternate Thursdays” in the sessional order to mean “ alternate sitting Thursdays.” Therefore, I directed the Clerk to place orders of the day first for the next sitting Thursday, namely, the 14th April, as will be seen by the business paper issued on the 18th March. I can easily understand honorable senators taking a different view, but that seemed to me to be the intention and wish of the Senate. According to the ordinary practice, Senator Pearce’s- motion will be placed third, but if the Senate so desire, it will be placed first on the paper for next Thursday.

Senator Lt Col NEILD:

-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - I would suggest that the business in the name of private senators should be allowed to come on in its intended order. I think,, sir, that if you are not going to alter the rotation of order day and motion day, it will be better for Senator Pearce to put his business down for the first order day.


– That is the 28th April.

Senator Playford:

– The chances are that on that day no business will come on.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - As there is much uncertainty as to the time when the next parliamentary business will be transacted, what I would suggest to Senator Pearce is that if the motion of Senator Playford be carried, he can move to have, his notice of motion taken, when the business is definitely arranged, for a day when orders of the day will have precedence. Although to-day week is the next day for private business, it may not be the day on which the business will be taken, and in that case his notice of motion will again be put off. The better way would be for my honorable friend to assent to this formal motion, and next week, if the Senate is in a position to rearrange definitely its order of business, specific motions and orders can be dealt with. There can be no doubt that Senator Playford is pursuing the right course. Although, ordinarily speaking, the carrying of an amendment in a Government Bill in the other House - whatever the result 04 the vote may be - is not the cause of bringing about an adjournment of the Senate, and although the Senate has functions which are much greater than those of a Legislative Council, still we are only following the precedent which was set in 1901. We know that the amendment which has been moved in another place may have an effect which would be equivalent to a motion of censure. My honorable friend has not mentioned trie reason for this motion, but we all know what it is, and there can be no doubt that it is the constitutional parliamentary course to pursue.


-! understand you, sir, to have ruled that’ Ihe expression “ alternate Thursdays “ means alternate silting days.- lt further means the days on which the Senate sits. If that is so, it would be unwise to make any alteration in the paper. An honorable senator is- entitled to the place he has obtained upon the paper, and the arrangement which the President has made seems to me to preserve to him all the rights and all the advantages he would have had. if the Senate had continued to sit regularly. I, therefore, submit that there should be no alteration of the order in which business appears on the paper, seeing that the alternation intended bv the Senate, in agreeing to the sessional order, to which reference has been made, is preserved by the action proposed to be taken by the President.

Senator Pearce:

– I withdraw my request.

Question resolved in the. affirmative.

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Senator PLAYFORD laid upon the table the following papers: -

British New Guinea Report, year ended 30th June, 1903.

Transfers of amounts approved by the GovernorGeneral in Council under the Audit Act.

Senate adjourned at 2.53 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 21 April 1904, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.