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Friday, 27 August 1920

Mr MCWILLIAMS (Franklin) . - I have pleasure in supporting the motion. Four or five weeks ago I made the same suggestion, but, strange to say, a hundred and one reasons were then given why it should not be adopted. I have always held that we should meet on Tuesdays. I have before complained that the present arrangement is not fair to honorable members from Queensland, Western Australia, and Tasmania, who have to remain the whole of their time in Melbourne for three sitting days a week. I also support the Government in proposing to meet on Thursday mornings. There is much important work, and I think that if we sit on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, about one-third of the programme which the Prime Minister has outlined may possibly be got through by Christmas. The Tariff must be considered this session. It is absurd that a Tariff should be laid on the table of the House, and that duties should be collected under it month after month, in the absence of any expressed opinion from this Parliament. May I also express the hope that, while the Tariff receives very careful consideration, we shall give to the Estimates much closer supervision than they have received for the last seven or eight years. We have reached a stage in the history of our finances when . the expenditure proposals of the Government will require the closest scrutiny of the House. There are many important measures to be dealt with, but I place in the forefront the finances and the Tariff. Beth must be disposed of during the present session, and to enable that to be done, and even a fraction of the other business which the Prime Minister has forecasted to be considered, we shall require to sit every Tuesday and every Thursday morning. I support the motion, and hope that Tuesday sittings will be the rule in future.

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