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Thursday, 3 April 1941

Senator KEANE (Victoria) .- In accordance with my promise during the second-reading debate on the bill, I intend to vote against this clause for what I suggest is a sound reason. I reiterate that I do not intend to be placed in the position of being merely a recording angel for another place. The clause reads -

The Treasurer may, from time to time, borrow, under the provisions of the Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Act 1911-1940. or under the provisions of any act authorizing the issue of treasury-bills, moneys not exceeding in the whole the amount of Fifty million pounds.

I have already said that I am not conversant with the provisions of the act mentioned in the clause. This hill was not in our possession until about an hour and a half ago. The handling of the business of this chamber by every party is a disgrace to the Parliament of Australia. Since 1.30 this afternoon no fewer than fourteen bills have been thrown to honorable senators, who are expected to pass them without comment. This may be a most dangerous bill. I do not know if it is or if it is not. As a protest against the muddling way in which the business is handled in this Parliament, I shall vote against every clause in this 'bill and every other bill brought before the Senate tonight. Honorable senators may think that I display a little heat in regard to this matter; I make no apology for it. Every honorable senator on this side of the chamber has had to fight for his rights. The Opposition has co-operated with the Government in securing the speedy passage of its war legislation. It has agreed to the industrial dilution of labour-

Senator McBride - On a point of order. There is nothing in this clause dealing with the industrial dilution of labour.

The CHAIRMAN - The honorable senator must confine his remarks to the clause.

Senator KEANE - I oppose this attempt to bludgeon through this chamber bills which we have not even been given an opportunity to consider. My Leader may say that our party has agreed to the bill. I have not heard the subject matter of this bill discussed at meetings of my party for many months. I repeat that I will not be a mere recording angel for another place. I propose to divide the committee on every clause of every bill brought before us to-night, not necessarily because I am opposed to the measures, but because of the methods adopted by the Government in rushing them through this chamber in the dying hours of this period of the session. Some day I trust that the voices of those who want the business of this chamber to be conducted in a proper way will be listened to. I shall not rest content until that is done and the prestige of this branch of the legislature is once more restored to its former level.

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