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Friday, 25 November 1938

Mr CURTIN (Fremantle) .- Mr. Speaker,I fear that when the House meets on Tuesday morning, whoever is in the chair when the luncheon hour arrives, whether it be Mr. Speaker or the Chairman of Committees, will announce that the chair will be resumed at a time earlier than is customary. I suggest, however, with great respect, that Mr. Speaker, or the Chairman of Committees, as the case may be, should vacate the chair at the usual hour, and that the meal interval should be of the usual duration. Yesterday, after an all-night sitting, the House had short intervals for luncheon and dinner, causing embarrassment to honorable members who were not in the chamber when the announcement of the earlier hour of meeting was made. Having regard to the conveniences of Canberra, I think that the meal interval should be regularly observed. There should not be an announcement varying the interval merely when the time for the suspension of the sitting is reached. I hope that the meal intervals next week will be at the same times, and of the same duration, as is normally the case. Any variation should be by agreement of all parties; it should not be done merely to convenience Ministers, for, with great respect, I suggest that Mr. Speaker and the Chairman of Committees are officers of the House and not officers of the Government.

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