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Wednesday, 1 November 1911

Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - I have listened to all that has been said on this subject. I wasnot absent from the Chamber when the statements were made by Senator Henderson. I heard them. I recognise them as being similar to statements that have been made for the last twenty years. I am sure that there is no section of the people of Australia who would ask the present Government to be the guardians of the virtues and the graces of the Conservative section of the community, who had the government of this country under their own control for so long. A task of that kind would be far beyond our limited capacity. Senator Henderson, in his original statement, said nothing more thanhe has repeated.

Senator Millen - Yes, he said a great deal more.

Senator McGREGOR - He said nothing more than I have said a dozen times, and he has said nothing half so bad as the Leader of the Opposition said when speaking on the second reading of the Electoral Bill.

Senator Millen - I never charged the present Government with corrupt administration.

Senator McGREGOR - The honorable senator distinctly stated that the present Government were abolishing the postal voting provisions of the existing Act because, as a rule, the postal votes were cast against them, and consequently they were doing it for party purposes.

Senator Millen - Does the honorable senator draw no distinction between legislation and administration?

Senator Findley - Senator Millen, in regard to electoral rights, this evening charged us with having bundles of them up our sleeves.

Senator Millen - Nonsense.

Senator McGREGOR - I am not concerned with rambling statements made by members of our own party, or by honorable senators opposite. Senator Henderson made it as clear as the noonday when he was speaking, that past rulers of the country made and administered the electoral laws to suit themselves, and, as for referring directly to any special Government, the honorable senator did nothing of the kind.

Senator Millen - He specially mentioned the last Administration.

Senator McGREGOR - He made a general statement, and if Senator Millen finds that the cap fits himself rather neatly, of course he can take the blame, and try to defend the administration of the Government of which he was amember, but I do not think there is any obligation on the present Government to do anything of the kind.

Senator Millen - Will the honorable senator, before he sits down, answer a question ?

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate ad journed. at 10. 18 p.m.

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