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Friday, 1 December 1911

Senator GIVENS (Queensland) . - In the course of his heated remarks, Senator Gardiner accused Senator Stewart and myself of acting in conjunction with the Opposition itv regard to this, particular amendment. Indeed, he went so far as to say that we were the dirty tools-

Senator Gardiner - I withdrew that statement.

Senator GIVENS - I accept the honorable senator's withdrawal. But I wish to say frankly that no member of the Opposition ever suggested 'the amendment to me, and I am perfectly certain that I would be equally safe in saying the same thing about Senator Stewart. As a matter of fact, if the secret history of the proposal must be known, I suggested to Senator Stewart during the last division that he should move the amendment.

Senator Gardiner - Who suggested it to the honorable senator?

Senator GIVENS - Nobody. I "suggested it, because I considered that as the Labour party, when in Opposition, endeavoured to impose these conditions on thu Government which was then in power, it was only fair that we should impose them upon ourselves. When Senator Gardiner affirms that the amendment will merely prove an instrument to delay the passing of the Bill, my reply is that it will prove nothing of the kind. It need not delay the passing of the Bill by one second. It merely stipulates that the Government shall pay a minimum wage, and as an intelligent man, Senator Gardiner must know that. His wild heroics, therefore, were absolutely beside the mark.

Senator Lynch - Senator Stewart's remarks evoked applause from the Opposition, and that fact justified Senator Gardiner's remark.

Senator GIVENS - I have nothing more to say. I hope that we shall come to a decision upon the merits of the question without delay.

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