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Friday, 11 November 1921

Senator WILSON (South Australia) . - I desire to support the remarks of Senator Gardiner, because the Senate is entitled to information of public importance such as has been given in another place. In discussing this matter with an ex-senator of considerable experience, he said that if such a position had arisen when he was a member of the Chamber there would have been " something doing." We come here as representatives of the people of Australia, and are entitled to be supplied with information of public interest when it is made available in 'another Chamber. Surely the representatives of the Government in the Senate enjoy the same privileges as Ministers in another place. I should be very sorry indeed for this protest to be regarded as a personal reflection upon the VicePresident of the Executive Council - I am sure Senator Gardiner does not wish it to be treated as such - but I strongly protest against the treatment the Senate has received, not only in this but in other instances. Senator Gardiner expressed himself very eloquently yesterday, and I am only too pleased to be able to indorse hia remarks. The attitude we are adopting must not be regarded as criticism concorning the appointment of Sir Joseph Cook to the office of High Commissioner, because such is not the case; but we resent the Senate being treated in this way. Surely it is not suggested that this deliberative body should be refused information on matters of policy.

Senator Russell - Not at all.

Senator WILSON - I do not enjoy the privilege of the "Minister's confidences.

Senator Russell - I could not give the information without dishonouring myself, and I would not do that.

Senator WILSON - I am prepared to excuse the Minister; but there does not seem to be any valid reason why the announcement should not have been made in the Senate.

Senator Russell - It was my fault.

Senator WILSON - I enter my emphatic protest against the treatment we have received, and should we be similarly slighted in future, I shall speak again as I have, spoken to-day.

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