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Friday, 12 December 1913

Senator STEWART (Queensland) . - We are in a difficult position in regard to the hour of meeting on Monday. I sympathize with Senators Rae and Gardiner in their desire to defer the hour of meeting until 2.30 p.m., otherwise business of importance will' undoubtedly be brought forward in the forenoon, and a division may be taken when they are absent. I think that far too much consideration has been shown for the convenience of honorable senators coming from South Australia and New South Wales.

Senator Rae - This comes well from the honorable senator, seeing that he was absent for about four months this session.

Senator STEWART - I think that too much consideration has been extended to honorable senators representing South Australia and New South Wales, who desire to get home every Saturday. If Senators Rae and Gardiner are so anxious about certain business, I do not see why they should not remain in Melbourne over this week end, if the hour of meeting is fixed for 11 a.m. on Monday.

Senator Gardiner - We will.

Senator STEWART - Their duty to the country ought to take a higher place in their minds.

Senator Rae - The honorable senator is talking rot, and he knows it. He remained in Queensland for four months, and allowed others to do his duty.

Senator STEWART - The honorable senator is an excellent judge of "rot"; he indulges in a good deal of it.

Senator Rae - The honorable senator was three or four months in Queensland doing nothing. Yet he comes here and lectures others.

Senator STEWART - I am sympathizing with the honorable senator. He does not know his friends when he meets them. I am endeavouring to give him and his f riends an opportunity to vote upon certain questions-

SenatorRae. - It is a left-handed way of doing it.

Senator STEWART - It is not, as the honorable senator will discover when the vote takes place. If the division goes against Senators Rae and Gardiner, they ought to remain in this city over Sunday, so as to be ready to get to work on Monday morning. I oan understand that there will be a desire on the part of the Government to get certain measures through this Chamber between 11 o'clock and 1 o'clock on Monday, when such doughty opponents of them as Senators Rae and Gardiner may be absent. As I am opposed to those measures, and as I am very anxious that my honorable friends should have an opportunity, not only of speaking, but of voting upon them, I intend to support the amendment in favour of the Senate meeting at haltpast 2 o'clock. It is not very nice for one to act in opposition to an arrangement entered into between the Leador of the Opposition and the Government.

Senator Gardiner - No arrangement has been made.

Senator STEWART - I think there has. But public business ought to take precedence even of any arrangement entered into between the Leader of the Opposition and the Government. If some honorable senators think that certain measures are in danger if the Senate meets at 11 o'clock on Monday, they are quite within their rights in endeavouring to get the hour of meeting altered to half-past 2 o'clock. I understand that honorable senators from South Australia cannot return here until Tuesday morning, as there is no train from Adelaide on Sunday.

Senator Guthrie - They are all here.

Senator STEWART - Then I would advise honorable senators from New South Wales to remain here also, if they wish to see the straight thing done to the country.

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