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Thursday, 20 May 1920

Mr HUGHES (Bendigo) (Prime Minister and Attorney-General) . - I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that you leave the chair for a while, so that we may have an opportunity to prepare an address for submission to the Chamber. There is one thing I should like to say, however, before you do leave the chair. On the 27 th May - next Thursday - the Government of the Commonwealth is giving His Royal Highness a dinner in the Queen's Hall of this Parliament House. It is a dinner confined to members of Parliament, the only officials invited outside members of Parliament being the heads of Departments and the officers of the House. I ask honorable members, out of respect to this Parliament, and no matter at what inconvenience to themselves - -though I know it will be very inconvenient to some - to attend that dinner. As to all other functions, honorable members may please themselves; but I ask them to attend this, really the only function at which the Government qua Government - Commonwealth qua Commonwealth - is receiving His Royal High ness. As this is the great representative institution of Australia, I think- every honorable member, irrespective of his opinions on controversial matters, ought to attend ; and I ask them to do so. I do not merely give them an invitation, for they are the hosts; and I expect them to be here, just as I shall be myself.

Mr Fenton - May we attend in tweed suits ?

Mr HUGHES - I remember when a previous Governor-General occupied the position there was a function of some sort - I forget what - and cards of invitation were sent out, and I insisted that cards of invitation should be sent to the heads of the trades organizations throughout Australia. On the left-hand bottom corner of the card these sinister and menacing words were written: "Trousers to be worn." Within half-an-hour I received many indignant protests from my friends of one sort or another - .and I am bound to say they are recruited from all sections of society - who wished to know whether they were thought to be aborigines or what. The idea, of course, was that we were not to attend in breeches; but as none of us had any breeches, the direction was quite superfluous. However, honorable members may come in the best dress they have. They can do their best; that is all I can say.

Mr SPEAKER - I understand that it is the desire of the Prime Minister that I leave the chair for a while, in order that an address may be prepared. I shall resume the chair when necessary, and five minutes' notice will be given by the ringing of the bells.

Sitting suspended from 3.7 to ,345 p.m. (Friday).

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