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Friday, 12 June 1914

Senator McGREGOR(South Australia [11.42]. - I move

That the full terms of the request for and reasons given for a simultaneous dissolution of the Senate and House of Representatives, presented to His Excellency the Governor-General by the Prime Minister,and His Excellency's reply to the Prime Minister, be laid on the table of the Senate.

It has been stated in another place by what is supposed to be the highest legal authority in the Parliament that there is no precedent for my proposal. The Minister of Defence in this chamber, in making a similar statement, was cautious enough to say that there was no precedent for anything of the kind since the establishment of the Commonwealth. As a matter of fact, there has been no double dissolution or any dissolution other than an ordinary one since the establishment of Federation, but reference to the text books shows that there have been precedents in British Dominions at various times and of various characters for the very same thing. There have been numerous instances of the same position and of the papers and correspondence being laid on the table of the Houses in New Zealand and Canada. In Victoria not so long ago, when a dissolution took place in the State Parliament during the regime of the late Sir Thomas Bent the very same thing was done. That the Attorney-General should make such a statement in view of these facts is only another illustration of the character of the man and of the Government that would be led by the nose by such an individual. We in this chamber have no idea of endeavouring to humiliate either the GovernorGeneral or the Government, but we think that, in the interests of the Parliament and of the people, all communications passing in such circumstances should be made public, so that the electors may know whether any misrepresentations have been made. As the Opposition are always anxious to carry on the business of the country, I submit the motion, without further labouring the question.

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