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Wednesday, 20 June 1906

Mr DEAKIN (Ballarat) (Minister of External Affairs) - I congratulate the honorable member for Kennedy upon his election to the highly honorable position of Chairman of Committees. Those who cast their votes in favour of the amendment did so, as we are all aware, with no personal reflection on his qualifications for the post, and through no want of confidence in him. We know the manner in which he has discharged the duties of a Temporary Chairman, and entertain no doubt as to the efficiency which he will display in connexion with the obligations he is about to accept. May I be permitted to add, without detracting from what I have said, that the fact that this House has been called upon on three separate occasions to elect a Chairman of Committees is one to which we might well give our serious consideration. A comparison of our system with that which obtains in the other Chamber should lead us to prefer the latter. It will also be understood, even without any statement to that effect, that the House has in no way lost its respect for and confidence in the honorable member's predecessor in office. He occupied the chair during extremely trying times, and under circumstances whichplaced the greatest strain both upon his knowledge of parliamentary practice and his resolute courage in doing his duty. We can assure the honorable member that the choice of another to act as Chairman during the last session of this Parliament has been in no degree due to any failure on his part to uphold the highest traditions of the post he admirably filled.

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