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Friday, 6 March 1942

Mr JOHNSON (Kalgoorlie) . - I wish to refer to the nature and duration of the proposed sittings of the Parliament. It would seem that there is every justification for the opinion of privatemembers that Parliament should not gointo recess for long periods. If that view had been insufficiently supported hitherto it was amply reinforced during yesterday and to-day. During these sittings very little reference has been madeto the plight of Australia. My view isthat the Government, having been placed in office, and certain honorable membershaving been given portfolios, they should be held responsible for the administration of the affairs of the country. They should! not be hampered in their work, but should have the fullest opportunity to attend to their administrative duties. The enemyis not, now just beyond our shores, but has actually attacked us. Short sessionsmay be convenient to members who represent constituencies in the eastern States, but they are most inconvenient to those who come -from the distant States. I. wish to return to Western Australia, because I believe that it is my duty tobe there at the present time. I intend to make the visit, whether or not I am able to be back in Canberra by the 25th March.. In arranging the meetings of thisParliament, some consideration should be- given to members from distant States, in order that they may at least be able to meet their people. The principal industries of Western Australia are in a very critical position, and are faced with unprecedented obstacles. The lives of the people of that State, at the moment, also are a matter for considerable concern. Ministers who are charged with the responsibility of administering the -departments of the Commonwealth should be enabled to devote to that task all the time that they need, if an effective job is to be done in the interests of this country.

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