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Thursday, 16 April 1914

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - I think that the fortnight's adjournment proposed by the Minister of Defence is a reasonable ons, but, at the same time, he would be extending more considerate treatment to the representatives of Western Australia if he acquiesced 'in the request of Senator Lynch. I ask the Leader of the Government in this -Chamber to alter the date of his motion from the 29th April to 6th May..

Senator Millen - I have moved the motion ; let the honorable senator propose to amend it.

Senator GARDINER - I do not wish to take the control of business out of the hands of the Government any more than .is necessary. Although I think that our presence will be required here before a fortnight has elapsed, I would like the convenience of the representatives of distant States to be considered to the extent suggested by Senator Lynch.

Senator Millen - If the honorable senator will move a,n amendment in that direction, I will accept it.

Senator GARDINER - I have already said that I .have no desire to take the control of business out of the hands of the Government.

Senator Millen - And I do not wish to thrust my views upon anybody.

Senator GARDINER - I did nob rise to cross the Minister in any way. If there is one thing more than another which is calculated to weaken the Government it is the willingness of the Opposition to conduct its business for it. I am anxious to support the Minister of Defence all that I can, within the brief period that is at our disposal. As the honorable gentleman and his colleagues understand what business they have to transact, it might, perhaps, be just as well to accept the motion which he has submitted. But when a request is made for an adjournment for a week longer, it is for the Minister to say whether or not he will go a little out of his way to accede to it. The date upon which we shall reassemble in this Chamber is a matter of absolute indifference to me. I will not use the forms of the Senate to criticise the Minister in any way.

Senator Millen - Let the honorable senator use the forms of the Senate to give expression to his views.

Senator GARDINER - I have no desire to do that. I merely ask the Minister to accept the suggestion which has been put forward by Senator Lynch. Whether the adjournment is for a week, a fortnight, or three weeks, is a matter of indifference to me, I shall be here on whatever date is fixed for the resumption of business, and I merely rose to ascertain whether the Leader of the Government in this Chamber is prepared to acquiesce in the view which has been expressed by Senator Lynch.

Senator Millen - Put it in the form of an amendment.

Senator GARDINER - I did that on a previous occasion, and found myself beaten by my own party. I am not going to incur the risk again. Not being in the councils of leaders of my party, or of the Government, I have not the slightest desire to endeavor to bump the combined forces of the Government and the Opposition.

Senator De Largie - What about the division of opinion in the honorable senator's own party?

Senator GARDINER - The leader of my party, Senator Stewart, may move an amendment if he chooses, and if he does I will support him. Personally, I am not concerned as to the date upon which we reassemble, but I see no reason why the Minister should not accede to the request of Senator Lynch. If, however, he refuses to do so; I shall be perfectly satisfied.

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