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Thursday, 26 November 1931


Mr SCULLIN (Yarra) (Prime Minis ter) . - I move -

That the House do now adjourn.

Before the House adjourns, I desire to notify honorable members of the dates which have been decided upon in connexion with the election. At this stage the dates, other than that of polling day, are only tentative; because we have to await replies from the State Governors regarding the election for the Senate. It is proposed that the House of Representatives shall be dissolved as from the 27th November; that the writs shall be issued on the 28th November; that nominations shall be receivable until the 5th December, and that the 19th December shall be polling day. Two considerations have weighed with the Government in deciding upon those dates ; first, that in this time of depression it is not desirable that the country should be in the turmoil of a general election for a long period; and, secondly, that to extend the date of the election beyond the 19th December would be to carry the campaign over the Christmas and New Year holidays, probably to the 9th or the 16th January, thereby interfering with the Christmas trade. In the interests of Australia generally - and that should be our first consideration - the Government has made what it considers to be the best arrangement. The time allowed is practically the same as for the last general election campaign.

It will not be possible to have the same dates for the issue of the writs and the receiving of nominations for the Senate as for the House of Representatives, although the polling day will be the same, because in some States the law requires notice for the issue of writs. In South Australia the period is nine days, and in Western Australia and Tasmania seven days; in the other States there is no time limit. The issue of writs for the Senate is in the hands of the State Governors. In New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland the respective electoral dates for the Senate will bc the same as for the House of Representatives. In Western Australia and Tasmania, provided the necessary proclamations can be issued to-day, as the Government has requested, the writs for the Senate will he issued on the 3rd December, and nominations will be receivable until the 10th December, while in South Australia the respective dates will be the 5th and the 12th December. In all States the' polling day for both Houses will be the 19th December. The dates tentatively set down for the Senate may be altered, should advice be received that in any State the message from the Governor-General to the State Governor has not been received in time to permit of the writ being issued to-day.

We shall not meet again in this chamber before Christmas, and when the new Parliament assembles we may not all be members of it. Whatever our political differences, I feel, Mr. Speaker, that all honorable members would desire me to express their appreciation of the way in

Ur.Scullin. which you have presided over this Parliament for the past two years.

Honorable MEMBERS - Hear, hear!


Mr SCULLIN - I do not think that your impartiality has ever been doubted by any honorable member in any part of the House. It may be that at times your ruling has been disagreed with, but that has been due not to any doubt a3 to your impartiality, but to an honest difference of opinion. I do not think that any honorable member questions your capacity for the important and onerous duties falling to your lot as presiding officer.

The Chairman of Committees also has laboured long, especially during the discussion on the tariff, and has given his rulings impartially, in accordance with the Standing Orders. He has been industrious and assiduous in the performance of his duties. Prom time to time he has been ably assisted by willing Temporary Chairmen, drawn from both sides of the House.

Although on many occasions Parliament has expressed its appreciation of the work of the Clerks of the House, I feel that we should again express our gratitude for their unfailing courtesy, marked ability, and impartiality in the performance of their duties. The same may be said of Hansard - that faithful band of nien who record more than faithfully the utterances of honorable members. To the staff generally - the attendants, messengers, and others who wait upon us and make our work congenial - as well as to the staff of the library for their efficient and enthusiastic assistance, we tender our thanks.

Last, but not least, I mention the officers of the various administrative departments who have been in attendance many long and weary hours while the debates have been in progress, and have been most helpful to all of us. We are fortunate in that in the members of the Public Service we have men who will work . as loyally for one Government as for another, and I feel sure that there is not one private member who has gone to them for assistance and been refused it. I speak with some knowledge of the Federal Public Service - and I have no reason to doubt that the same is true of the Public Services of the States - when I say that it is an efficient, loyal body of officers.

To honorable members generally, whatever my wishes for them politically may be, I extend the best wishes for a happy Christmas and a better New Year than we have experienced for some time.







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