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Thursday, 17 June 1915

Senator BAKHAP (Tasmania) . - I had no conception that my utterances were deemed so important by Senator Guy as to cause him to burrow in the musty archives of Tasmanian parliamentary history in order to resurrect them ; but he need not imagine that T am at all appalled by the discovery ho thinks he has made. Last week, when. I was speaking, Senator Guy made an interjection to the effect that the nature of the obligations which bound together the members of the two parties into which Australia is divided at the present time were exactly similar, but I was endeavouring to make it quite clear that the organization of the Liberal party did not enjoin upon its members absolute adhesion to any programme promulgated by the Leader of the party. I was justifying some criticism which I said I intended to advance on the attitude of my leader in connexion with certain debates that had transpired in another place. I made a statement regarding the internal organization of the party, and I again maintain its absolute accuracy. Senator Guy, very cleverly I suppose from his own stand-point, now " rings in " some paragraphs from a debate on a no-confidence motion in the Tasmanian House of Assembly. The motion was moved very early in the history of a new Parliament, in which the tenure of office of the Government depended upon the attitude of one member. The conditions were such as are not very frequently presented in any Parliament where the system of party government and more particularly the system of dissolving Ministries, obtains. I said that the system of elective Ministries would to a large extent do away with party government, and permit every member to vote in absolute accordance with his convictions on any measure, because then the fate of the Ministry would not be involved. When I alluded to the fact that practically every member of that Legislature was not in a position to vote as his conscience dictated on any measure brought before the House, because the fate of the Government was involved, I was dealing with the position of parties in the

House itself, and was not alluding in any way whatever to the internal organization of the respective parties outside. If Senator Guy cannot see the difference, I do not feel called upon to make any apology for or further explanation, of my utterances of two or three years ago.

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