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Wednesday, 5 October 1910
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Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) (Vice- President of the Executive Council) . - I was rather surprised to hear the little homily from Senator Stewart in which he proclaimed his want of knowledge as to the Supply Bill arriving here to-day. Did not the honorable senator know that on Friday last I gave contingent notice of motion with reference to the suspension of the Standing Orders in anticipation of that Bill arriving? The honorable senator ought to have known that such a measure was coming before us. If he did not know, he was neglecting his duty. But I can feel for the honorable senator. He has been so long in Opposition that he cannot get out of the habit of opposing.It is a very good thing for the Government that they are not entirely dependent upon a majority of one. Honorable senators opposite may feel that they have done very well in blocking the Supply Bill for such a long time. I challenge them to show any other occasion when a Supply Bill of this description was not dealt with by the Senate in less than a quarter of the time that has been occupied to-day. When Senator Stewart talks about the Estimates being flung upon the table, I reply that at no period of the history of this Parliament has it ever been considered that the Estimates-in-Chief ' were under discussion in connexion with a Supply Bill. The Estimates come before Parliament in a proper and well regulated way. But an opportunity has presented itself in connexion with an ordinary Supply Bill for wasting time and delaying business. I do not blame either Senator Stewart or any member of the Opposition for taking advantage of the opportunity.

Senator Stewart - Who wasted time?

Senator McGREGOR - Honorable senators opposite are perfectly at liberty to do so. But I wish to remind Senator St. Ledger, who has threatened us with consequences involving physical endurance, that the Government intend to carry out the programme that they have laid before Parliament, and if we have to sit every day in the week, and every night, an attempt to do that work will be made. Ifthe members of the Opposition are prepared to put the supporters of the Government to inconvenience, they must remember that they will also put themselves to inconvenience. We have nothing to thank the Opposition for, as far as we have yet gone. I am at a loss to know who leads the Opposition when Senator Millen is away ; but the Acting Leader of the Opposition, whoever he is - whether it be Senator Gould, Senator Chataway, or Senator St. Ledger - was in a position to control honorable senators on his own side to some extent, and to give a fair chance for work upon the Navigation Bill to be done to-day. Last Friday I said that I would give an opportunity on Thursday of this . week to discuss the census papers if sufficient progress were made with business. I do not- hold myself or the Government bound to carry out that promise to the Opposition after their conduct today.

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel SirAlbert Gould. - What will be the order of business tomorrow ?

Senator McGREGOR - We intend to deal with the Naval Appropriation Bill first, secondly with the Trust Fund Advances Bill, and afterwards with the Navigation Bill.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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