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Thursday, 23 November 1905

Mr WILSON (Corangamite) - I move -

That the following words be added : " Provided that a majority of the whole House shall be present when such vote is carried."

We have now reached an extraordinary stage in the history of the Federal Parliament, and I think it will be well for honorable members to pause before committing themselves too far. We have seen to-night that which has never occurred in the history of any Parliament - we have seen the advocates of democracy, of liberty, and freedom, voting for the " gag," for an institution which outside this House they would denounce with the utmost vehemence. They have taken this action for a purpose, and their conduct reflects credit neither upon themselves nor upon the House.

Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member will recognise that the question now before the Chair is the amendment which he has just moved. It is competent for him to discuss whether or not there should be a majority of the whole House present when the vote is "taken, but he cannot enter into the merits of the closure.

Mr WILSON - My desire is to conserve the rights of every honorable member, no matter upon what side of the House he may sit. It is imperative that the closure should not be applied lightly, and I regard it as absolutely necessary that we should add to the Government proposal the safeguard embodied in my amendment.

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