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Friday, 11 December 1914

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - I can hardly resist the opportunity of congratulating my honorable friend upon, for once, following a very safe guide, and may I suggest that, as he has commenced the habit, he should endeavour to develop it. I called "not formal " to the motion, because I desired an opportunity to refer to the Constitution to solve a doubt in my mind as to whether the motion was absolutely necessary or not. On looking over the matter, although there may be some doubt, I still think that the balance would be in favour of the adoption of the course which we are asked to take. Certainly, the motion can do no harm, and its adoption may divert from this already troubled country the greatest catastrophe that could possibly fall upon it. Therefore I am quite content to see the motion go through.

Senator Turley - It might save a reference of the question to the High Court, too.

Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD (New South Wales) [11.13].- I would like to know from the Minister how long we are to be away, because it may be intended to suspend the operations of the Senate until towards the CloSe of next year. Perhaps Ministers may wait until the end of that year, and then bring down their Estimates. An honorable senator interjects, " What odds! " Possibly the country could do very well with less legislation. How long is it contemplated that the session shall remain in a dormant state? Is it the intention of the Minister to proceed with the Estimates, with the view of getting an Appropriation Bill passed for the current financial year? It has always teen the custom to wait until near the close of the session before passing the Appropriation Bill, and in the meantime the country has been financed by means of Supply Bills. Is it intended to-day to pass the Appropriation Bill for the year, and to ask us to come back at the end of two or three months.

Senator Millen - No, to pass a Supply Bill only.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I was under the impression that the idea of the Minister was to pass the Appropriation Bill, but my honorable friend says that it is only contemplated to pass a Supply Bill. Perhaps the Minister will tell me if that statement is correct.

Senator McDougall - Did you not get & Supply Bill this morning?

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I have not seen a copy of the Bill. As it is not intended to-day to pass the Appropriation Bill for the year, my objection on the ground of procedure vanishes, but I should like to know the date to which it is contemplated that Parliament should adjourn. There is another matter of importance to which I desire to direct attention. The Government have brought down a new Tariff under which increased duties are imposed in a great many directions. According to the practice which has always been followed in similar circumstances, the Government are now collecting those duties. If the sittings of this Parliament are to be suspended for four or five months it will be obviously unfair to industries affected by the Tariff, because they have no assurance that it will ultimately be carried in its present form. Of course, some honorable senators may argue that the Government possess an overwhelming majority, and are therefore iri a position to carry the Tariff in any form that they may please.

Senator Needham - We had a mandate from the people upon it at the last election.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - The honorable senator talks about a mandate from the people. There was no mandate in regard to that question.

Senator Needham - "Why, it was upon our platform.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - "Whatever may be upon the platform of the party with which the honorable senator is associated, becomes, I suppose, a mandate. Simply because a self-appointed body, behind the- backs of the electors, lays down a platform-

Senator Needham - That platform was put before the people, and they indorsed it.

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