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Thursday, 17 March 1932

Mr LYONS (Wilmot) (Prime Minister) . - I assure the -honorable member for Cook (Mr. Riley) that the re-assembling of Parliament will not be delayed any longer than is necessary. There is no reason, so far as the Government can see, why the date of meeting after Easter should not be the 20th April ; but unexpected delay may occur on account of our desire to formulate some definite plans for submission to the House in regard to the relief of unemployment. I have no reason to believe that the conference will need more time than has been allowed it; but the unexpected may happen.

Mr Martens - It is not expected that anything will happen.

Mr LYONS - I assure the honorable member for Kennedy (Mr. Riordan) that I have confidence that we shall have a more successful conference this time than on previous occasions, and I hope to be able to submit to Parliament, as soon as it re-assembles, definite plans agreed to by the conference for the relief of unemployment. After that business is dealt with, the Broadcasting Bill will be further considered. It must be passed early, because the existing contract expires in June. The discussion of the tariff will be introduced as early as possible, and as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde) knows, the items dealing with tobacco appear early in the schedule.

Mr Forde - Can the Government make any variation in the cotton duties before Parliament rises?

Mr LYONS - I understand that the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Gullett) intends to do more than make a statement on that subject. In reply to the remarks of the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley), I point out that there would necessarily be some adjournment at Easter, and in order to allow honorable members who represent distant constituencies to go to their homes and return to Canberra, at least three weeks would be necessary. The extra week is being allowed so that the subject of unemployment can be dealt with by the Premiers Conference.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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