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Thursday, 14 April 1921

The CHAIRMAN - Until I know what is covered by the item to which the honorable senator is addressing himself, I am unable to say whether his remarks are in order or not.

Senator GIVENS - I wish to know whether this item covers the cost of the uniforms, wigs, and ridiculous paraphernalia of the officers of the Senate?

I assumed from your remarksyesterday that you had been forced to adopt this ridiculous paraphernalia, this flummery of 500 years ago, by a petition signed by honorable senators. I am sorry that this is so, and harking back to a meeting of our party in 1910. I may say that I was the only man who voted against tha abolition of the wig andgown.

Senator Pearce - No you were not.

Senator de Largie - You are claiming too much ?

Senator GARDINER - I am not referring to the proceedings in the Senate, but to our party meeting, where it was decided to abolish the wig and gown. I do not know why it is, but these emblems of authority have alwavs appealed to me. Perhaps it is because I think they give added dignity to the occupants of our high offices.

Senator Pearce - You think there is something familiar about them ?

Senator GARDINER --I am afraid my classical education was sadly neglected in my boyhood. But it remains in my memory that the origin of the. wearing of the wig is said to have been something' like this. In the, days when the gods interfered immediately in the affairs of men, a judge, having given an unjust and ridiculous decision, found that a god had caused an ass's ears to grow out of his head, whereupon another god, favorably disposed towards him, caused his hair to grow to cover his deformity. I do not know, Mr. President, whether you have been conscious of late of any extraordinary growth. My eyesight enables me to see none. It may bethat since 1908 you have altered' your opinions concerning the wearing of what you then termed " ridiculous flummery." Unless you have done so, honorable senators should not, by the presentation of a secretly-prepared petition, inflict upon you the hardship that now threatens you. Had they known that you hold the views which you expressed in 1908,. they would surely not have been so cruel as to ask you to sit in this Senate dressed in the flummery, and accompanied by the ridiculous paraphernalia which you then so unreservedly condemned. I hope, sir, that you will recognise that those are not your true friends who insist upon your wearing here a dress altogether repugnant to your good sense and judgment.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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