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Wednesday, 10 June 1914

Senator MILLEN - I have to inform the Senate that it is nob proposed to make public the correspondence and the conversations which took place between the Governor-General and the Prime Minister, and which are regarded as absolutely confidential in their character.

Senator Rae - Why should they be?

Senator MILLEN - It has never been the custom to do so in the Commonwealth, and no special reason is known for doing so now.

Senator Needham - There has been no double dissolution before.

Senator Maughan - It has been done in Queensland, anyhow.

Senator MILLEN - That is the answer to the question. With the permission of the Senate, I should like to make a statement.

Leave granted.

Senator MILLEN - The statement I propose to make to the Senate is an outline of the nature of the communications which passed between the GovernorGeneral and the Prime Minister.

Senator Pearce - And the nature of the communications from the GovernorGeneral, too?

Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator will see from the statement what has taken place. The Prime Minister advised His Excellency, in accordance with the provisions of section 57 of the Constitution, to dissolve simultaneously the Senate and the House of Representatives, and assured him that the requirements of the Constitution had been complied with. The Prime Minister also pointed out to His Excellency the almost equal numbers in the House of Repre sentatives and the small number supporting the Government in the Senate, and that in consequence the Parliament was unworkable, that it was impossible to manage efficiently the public business, and that, in his (the Prime Minister's) opinion, a dissolution of both Houses should be granted. His Excellency's reply was to accede to the request, and grant an immediate simultaneous dissolution on condition that a definite assurance was given that the financial position was such that adequate provision could be made for carrying on the public service during the period of time covered by the elections.

Senator Needham - Ah !

Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator might wait a bit.

Senator Needham - I will wait till you are finished.

Senator MILLEN - The Prime Minister then reminded His Excellency that adequate provision existed for Supply to the 30th June, and that he proposed, with His Excellency's permission, to inform Parliament of His Excellency's decision, and to at once ask Parliament to make provision for Supply to cover the elections. He also informed His Excellency that he did not propose to invite the House to do business other than Supply, and that as soon as this was granted, he would recommend His Excellency to prorogue Parliament, and proceed at once with the elections. His Excellency gave the desired permission to inform Parliament of his decision to dissolve both Houses and to prorogue Parliament as soon as adequate provision for Supply had been made.

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