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Wednesday, 2 April 1941

Senator ABBOTT (NEW SOUTH WALES) - by leave- 1 wish to make a personal explanation. The report referred to by Senator Amour is in some respects incorrect. At no time did I bitterly attack the Senate; that is untrue. I said nothing at that conference which I have not said in this chamber over and over again. I complained that the Senate was tending to become a rubber stamp. I complained of the lessening of initiative exercised in the Senate. I pointed out that the system of election of the Senate, before the grouping system was evolved as the result of acute party politics, induced men who had made some way in the community to stand for election to the Senate, and that that was one of the features of the old system of voting. I also complained that the grouping system accentuated party politics. I do not think that any honorable senator, regardless of party, can conscientiously say to-day that the Senate would not enjoy more freedom, and exercise more initiative if it were, in fact, a House of review; and, consequently, it would not lay itself open to the charge now made outside - I did not make the charge - that the Senate is merely a rubber stamp. I repeat that I said nothing at that conference which I -have not said over and over again in this chamber. I did not attack the calibre of "honorable senators. I saw the report referred to by the honorable senator, but made no attempt to correct it because, generally speaking, none of us can spare the time that would be required to correct reports of this kind. At the same time, I read a report of that conference in another paper which did not refer at all to the aspects complained of by the honorable senator.

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