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Thursday, 7 December 1905
Page: 6506

Mr KNOX (Kooyong) - I am not here for die purpose of wasting time. And I hope I may be allowed to suggest to the Prime Minister the desirability of postponing the more important clauses of this Bill. There is no reason why we should not now agree to pass the non-contentious clauses of the measure, and let those on which there is a division of opinion be considered to-morrow. We are dealing with a measure proposing the amendment of legislation, the administration of which has brought the Commonwealth into disrepute in the past, and seeing that we have been, here since half-past 10 o'clock ves.terday morning, the Prime Minister might reasonably accept the suggestion I make.

Mr. SYDNEYSMITH (Macquarie).I trust that the Government will agree to the postponement of this clause. I left the House and went home some time ago under the impression that there would be an adjournment after the debate on the second reading had been brought to a conclusion. Fortunately, I telephoned to find out what was being done, and I then thought it my duty to return to the House. Good reasons have been given by the honorable member for Lang for the postponement of the clause. I refrained from speaking on the motion for the second reading of the Bill, because of my desire to expedite business, but I shall feel it necessary to give reasons in Committee for the course that I intend to take. I trust that wiser counsels will prevail1. If honorable members -wished to block business they could do so; but they have no such desire. Like other honorable members, I wish to see the session brought to a close as speedily as possible, but the action of the Government may tend to prolong it.

Mr. McCAY(Corinella).- There are many reasons why this clause should bepostponed.

Mr Kennedy - We are agreed as to the principle involved ; can Ave not reachfinality ?

Mr McCAY - If I were satisfied that honorable members would be correctly and" fully represented in any division that might take place I should not object.

Mr Crouch - Is it a question of pairs ?'

Mr McCAY - It is. For instance, thehonorable member for Oxley and the honorable member for Parkes will not be represented.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - We can find a pair for the honorable member for Oxley.

Mr McCAY - If I am assured thathonorable members will be properly represented, and that no snatch, vote will betaken, I shall be satisfied. Some honorable members who supported the second" reading of the Bill have left for their homes, and their views on this clause, which is the main feature of the Bill,, have not been ascertained. I know, for instance, of one honorable member whohas left! for Adelaide, and who I am strongly of opinion would not vote for theBill as it stands. If any substantial alterations be made in subsequent clauses it will' be necessary to recommit that now under consideration. Clause 5, for instance, provides that the Minister may approve of the terms of a contract under certain conditions, whilst clause 6 provides for penalties in certain cases. If those clauses beso amended as to provide that the contract- shall be referable to a Court,the one now under consideration will have to be recommitted.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - We have agreed to the necessary pairs.

Mr McCAY - As long as honorable members will be properly represented I shall not quarrel with the Government. In any event, I do not intend to remain here all night.

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