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Friday, 30 July 1920


Mr CONSIDINE (Barrier) . - I oppose the motion. The honorable member for Hunter (Mr. Charlton) said that in his opinion private members' business was of no use, and that the time devoted to it was practically wasted. That may he true; but, on the other hand, the conduct ofbusiness by the Government is such that honorable members have ho opportunity to discuss measures as they should be discussed in an assembly representative of the people. We have recently had illustrations of the petulance of Ministers. The latest occasion was that on which the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook), as soon as he had had his say, promptly moved the "gag."Honorable members have had experience of the Government intimating without warning that a measure is to be regarded as being of urgent importance, and that it must be rushed through within a specific time. Quite a number of measures, before this Chamber and foreshadowed, are of considerable importance to the people; whether they are so recognised by some honorable members is another matter. There are Bills, for example, having to do with immigration, and with passports; and there are several others beside, of which the Government have given notice, which will arouse quite a deal of discussion. It is the duty of those who claim to have the interests of the people at heart to very critically examine all these measures, but that cannot be done in the limited time devoted to the affairs of Parliament at present, I shall certainly oppose any proposition to give precedence to Governmentbusiness, so long as no provision is made for honorable members to adequately discuss matters putbefore them. Only the other day the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), speaking in Bendigo, announced his intention to push through a certain measure without reference to the opinions of honorable members at all. No matter what might be the views of the Opposition, or of critics in any part of the House, the Prime Minister was going to have that Bill through by to-day. So long as that spirit actuates the Government it will not receive my support in the passing of any of its legislation. At various times Bills have been brought down, and even honorable members sitting behind the Government have notknown what the measures contained until they were tabled. That kind of thing makes a farce of the so-called representative institutions of the country.







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