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Thursday, 16 April 1914

Senator STEWART (Queensland) . - This appears to be a very important question, and is receiving a considerable amount of discussion. I have always been opposed to these adjournments. I have thought it most desirable that the Senate should continue to transact its business, even though a vote of noconfidence in the Government may have been moved in another place. But the force of other opinions has become too strong for me, and I am now, I suppose, a convert to this old-fashioned idea. In any case those of us who opposed these adjournments hitherto have not been able to make any impression upon members generally. The question to-day is between an adjournment for two weeks as proposed by Senator Millen and an adjournment for three weeks as suggested by Senator Lynch and other honorable senators. Probably Senator Millen has inside information as to how long the debate in another place is to be allowed to continue. Probably the Government have come to some conclusion that honorable members in another place are to be allowed to blow off steam for about two weeks, and then the play is to end. We have no information on that point. If at the close of an adjournment for two weeks we are summoned back here and find the other House still hammering. away at the no-confidence motion, we shall be among the unemployed once more, with this difference, fortunately for us, that our pay will be going on all the time. I think there is a good deal in the statements of Senator Lynch and other honorable senators that a two weeks' adjournment is of no use to honorable senators from Western Australia and Queensland. Honorable senators from New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania are almost at home when attending this Parliament. They go home every weekend, and sometimes stay at home over the following week. It seems to me that they are altogether too near their homes, and very often put other members of the Senate to a great deal of inconvenience. I favour a three weeks' adjournment. I am sure that honorable senators from Western Australia desire to go home. Seeing that a double dissolution is pending, they want to interview their supporters. I am sure, also, that honorable senators from Queensland think in very much the same way. I should like very much to go to Queensland, but two weeks is too short a time to enable me to do so. I do not know why Senator Lynch did not move an amendment to give effect to his suggestion, or why Senator Gardiner, who was so anxious to support a three weeks' adjournment, did not move such an amendment. There may be some reason for their unwillingness that does not appear on the surface. It is certainly not evident to me. When I think that a thing is right, and I want it, I am prepared to move to get it. I therefore move: -

That the words "29th April" be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words "6th May."

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