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Wednesday, 21 July 1915

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - I was slightly perturbed a few minutes ago when I heard Senator Stewart say something as to the position which he occupies in this Chamber. I was almost afraid that he contemplated joining the Opposition. We have quite enough troubles already. If I might paraphrase a well-known sayingapplied to war, I would say, " One more such recruit and we should be lost." For Senator Stewart to find fault with the Opposition is not extraordinary. The honor able senator finds fault with his own party, and we cannot expect to be regarded by him in any more favorable light. I have always suspected the honorable senator of being occasionally consistent, and I was therefore a little surprised to-day when he raised his voice against swallowing this quite insignificant proposal, knowing that only a little while ago he made no protest against the most serious inroad upon the Standing Orders ever sanctioned by the Senate - the suspension of the Standing Orders to allow of an early call of the Senate to consider the Constitution Alteration Bills. If the Standing Orders should have been observed to the letter upon any occasion, it was when the Senate was asked to deal with the highly important subject of a proposed amendment of the fundamental law under which we live. Senator Stewart was then found in the attitude which he described a littlewhile ago. He was feeding out of the hand of the Government. He was then the most silent man in this chamber.

Senator Stewart - I must have been asleep.

Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator is not often asleep. He allowed that proposal to go, but he rises to-day, in apparent indignation, to protest against what the Government now propose. The Government have now made a proposition which is merely the expression of a desire to get the War Census Bill through, if the Senate is prepared to pass it. If not, they propose to carry it over until to-morrow. I cannot conceive the Government putting a proposition more reasonably and fairly to the Senate than they have done in this instance.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a first time.

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