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Wednesday, 6 May 1914

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - I intend to support the Government on this motion subject to certain observations I intend to make. The reason which justified our adjournment three weeks ago still stands. That being so, we must adopt the same remedy for the situation which confronts us. We must adjourn until the trouble in another place has been cleared up. According to Senator Rae's argument, it would seem that the Senate is an important and supreme parliamentary machine of itself ; whereas the fact is that it is only a part of the parliamentary machine.

Senator Rae - It is a separate working part.

Senator LYNCH - Quite so; but tha legislative product of the Senate cannot be accepted as the work of this Parliament until it has received the approval of another place. No matter what we do here, it cannot reach the people as a perfected piece of legislation while there is a condition of indecision in another place.

Senator Rae - It might reach the other Chamber.

Senator LYNCH - The Senate is only part of the parliamentary machine, and I can see no purpose in our going on with work which is to be subject to review and alteration later. If the Senate constituted the whole of this Parliament, there would be every reason why the view expressed by Senator Rae should prevail. But considering that this Chamber is only an integral part of the Commonwealth Parliament, it is idle for it to proceed until the other House is in a legislative working state.

Senator Rae - If the other House were working instead of talking, there might be some excuse for the action proposed.

Senator LYNCH - I do not hold the view that the other Chamber is not working. To my mind, it is engaged in the most useful work of the session. Honorable members of the Opposition there are casting a lot of searchlights on to dark spots. I intend to support the Government proposal for the reason that the position of the Government in the other House is still the subject of challenge. But in view of the fact that before this day ends, a determination may be arrived at on the motion of censure which is being debated there, I ask the Leader of the Government in this Chamber whether it will not be well to adjourn till a later hour of the day?

Senator Henderson - Say 11 o'clock to-night.

Senator LYNCH - No, but we might adjourn till after dinner. Thus the waste of a valuable day would be avoided. ' Of course, I recognise the futility of offering a suggestion to the Minister of Defence, especially when I recollect what happened on the last occasion that a motion for a special adjournment was submitted.

Senator Rae - Why offer a suggestion; we have the numbers to enable us to do as we like.

Senator LYNCH - Whenever I make a suggestion, I like to know that there is a chance that it will bear fruit. I recognise the futility of making a suggestion to the Leader of the Government in this Chamber, in view of what occurred here three weeks ago. On that occasion the Minister of Defence moved for a fortnight's adjournment, but stated, in the course of his remarks, that he was not wedded to that particular period. Some members of my own party suggested a longer adjournment, and he then stated that if an amendment were moved in that direction he would agree to it. Accordingly, Senator Stewart submitted an amendment in favour of this Chamber adjourning for three weeks. With what result? When the division took place, the Minister of Defence voted against the amendment. I would not have mentioned this incident, but for the fact that the Minister's colleagues in another place have made a very elaborate use of the adjournment of the Senate for three weeks, notwithstanding that the course of action taken was one which was acceptable to the Leader of the Government in this House. I would like the country to understand the class of Ministers who control the destinies of the Commonwealth to-day. One Minister can say here that he will accept a certain amendment, and then vote against it, while his colleagues in another place can hold up this Chamber to public odium for adjourning for a period which the Minister of Defence himself had said would be acceptable to him. But I rose chiefly for the purpose of inquiring why, during the adjournment, no respect has been paid to a resolution carried in this Chamber. Some three weeks ago it was decided on my initiative that the papers relating to the Teesdale Smith contract should be laid on the table. So far those papers have not arrived. I have inquired in the proper quarter why they are not forthcoming, and I have been told that they have not yet reached here. Of course, I recognise that Ministers have had a particularly busy time during the period I have indicated.. But, following the lead of Senator Keating, I put it to the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs, that those papers should be forthcoming ere this. At present, I am entirely in the dark as to that particular contract. I am as much in the dark as were the people of the Commonwealth until after the contract had been let. I wish the papers to be produced in order that I may discover what has happened in that connexion.

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