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Thursday, 23 November 1905

Mr McCAY (CORINELLA, VICTORIA) - It is not more than an hour since the honorable member for Canobolas spoke upon the main question ; but in that interval he has succeeded in crossing the floor of the House, because he then spoke from the Opposition benches. I sup- ' pose that he was induced to take such a decisive step by what he regarded as a personal attack on the part of the deputy leader of the Opposition. In .that case, my congratulations to the honorable member for Parramatta upon his powers of speech are mingled with regret that he has lost a follower. The honorable member for Canobolas, in the course of a very brief address, made one or two rather astonishing statements. He characterized the amendment of the honorable member for North Sydney - which is now' under consideration as an alternative to the proposal of the Government - as an automatic closure. I think that he must have forgotten for a moment the veal meaning of that word. The word "closure," as applied to individual members, means putting an end to the speech, not of a favoured individual, but of some honorable member who happens to receive scantier consideration than is extended to others. Upon the other hand, the application of the closure to debate applies equally to those who have not spoken and to those who have. The amendment presupposes that under ordinary circumstances any honorable member can say all that is necessary in an hour ; but it provides for exceptions. During a debate on an Address-in-Reply,a a member is not limited to an hour, and sometimes honorable members like to speak at great length on those occasions.

Mr Frazer - They are the most useless debates that ever- take place in this Chamber.

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