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Friday, 8 April 1921

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Repatriation) . - I very much dislike thus "early in the session having to offer an apology' to the Senate, but if I tell them exactly what has happened they will understand the situation a little better. It is a matter of great regret that we are not able to present the Public Service Bill to-day, but as happens - sometimes, even when a Bill has been before the Chamber for a long while, something may be discovered at the eleventh hour which it is necessary to alter. That is what has happened in this' case to prevent the presentation of that Bill to the Senate this morning. I can promise the Senate that it will be here on Wednesday. The Minister in charge of it will then ask the Senate to allow him, in addition to the first reading, to make hia second-reading speech, and agree to tho adjournment of the debate to enable honorable senators to study the measure. We shall hare also to consider next week the Bill of which the second-reading has just been moved by the Minister of Defence, and I think I can almost say definitely that the Defence Bill will also be here. Those three measures will furnish ample material for next week's work. In addition, I propose, believingthat I have sensed correctly tha general view ofthis Chamber to make a statement as to matters connected with my recent mission to Europe. That will not take an undue period, but it is possible that other honorable senators may wish to comment on it. The Senate can rest assured that next week it will have a full hand. Even allowing for its well-known and commendable expedition in the discharge of its duties, it will find, I think, that there is not too much spare time next week. What willbe done after that will depend entirely on the position in which we stand when Friday of next week arrives. I shall do all I can to give effect to the opinion, held by, I think, all of us, that we should get all our business into as brief a compass as possible, rather than compel honorable senators to travel half across the continent to put in one day's work a week.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - And without any suggestion that we are loafing when we are away.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the honorable senator want me to make that suggestion ?

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - No ; but the suggestion is often made in the press, and I very much resent it.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable senator must know that if he loafs the press will find fault with him, and if he works the press will find fault with him.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is it not better for the press to find fault with us than to ignore us?

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Apparently, we are as little satisfied whether they ignore us or take notice of us.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 12.6 p.m.

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