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Friday, 15 September 1911

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) . - I think that the criticism which has been launched against the proposed adjournment is unfair, in a sense. I have always objected to any adjournment of the Senate. I realize that some system should be devised to prevent the necessity for adjourning. I would remind honorable senators that three of the principal Ministers were absent from their Departments for a considerable time, being engaged in London in transacting business on behalf of the people of Australia. Since their return they have not had a sufficient oppportunity to prepare Bills for the Chamber.

Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Surely they did not wait until they returned from London to prepare Bills?

Senator NEEDHAM - My honorable friend should know better than to ask that question. If he were a Minister he would have to be here to prepare measures.

Senator McColl - The Attorney-General was here all the time.

Senator NEEDHAM - Yes.

Senator McColl - And he prepares the Bills.

Senator NEEDHAM - He had a great deal of work thrust upon him whilst his colleagues were absent in England, with the result that he is now lying upon a bed of sickness where he will probably remain for some time. If we have no business with which to proceed it seems to me that we ought to adjourn for a longer period than a fortnight.

Senator Walker - Go on the spree for the fortnight.

Senator NEEDHAM - I am not talking about sprees at all. I view this question wholly from the stand-point of whether the proposed adjournment is necessary.

Senator McColl - Is there work for us to do?

Senator NEEDHAM - If there is no business for us to transact, obviously we must adjourn. But will any business be forthcoming at the expiration of a fortnight? If not, the Government might reasonably extend the proposed adjournment to another week in order that representatives from distant States may be afforded an opportunity of visiting their constituencies. I regret the necessity for any adjournment, but, under the circumstances, I recognise that such a course of action is unavoidable. I appeal to the Government to amend the motion by making the adjournment cover three weeks.

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