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Thursday, 3 April 1941

Senator CAMERON (Victoria) . -Senator HerbertHays' statement that we have been given the necessary information on which to pass a vote on this bill is not correct. It is true that the Minister made a second-reading speech on the measure, but we have not been supplied with a copy of the notes he used, and it is not possible for honorable senators to retain in their minds the details of such a speech. If the Government desired to expedite the business of the Senate it should have supplied honorable senators with typewritten copies of the Minister's speech and it could easily have done so. We should then have been in a position to debate the bill intelligently. I have told members of the Government on previous occasions, but apparently it is necessary for me to repeat my words, that I am not prepared to accept the statements in a secondreading speech simply because they are made by a Minister. I expect from a Minister the same consideration that I would be prepared to accord him were he in my place and I in his. It is unreasonable to expect us to pass a bill of this description within a few minutes of its introduction. All we ask is that we shall be given a reasonable opportunity to debate the various measures presented to us. Like many measures which come to us from the House of Representatives this is a skeleton bill. It may be quite all right, but it may not be all right. I do not attribute any ulterior motives to the Government in this connexion, but I must insist that we be given a reasonable opportunity to study the merits of the various measures placed before us. I know of no other deliberative assembly in which such a reasonable request would be refused. That the Government has not seen fit to comply with our desires shows that it regards us as of no account whatsoever. Any old thing, it seems, is good enough for honorable senators on this side of the chamber! I assure the members of the Government that I am rather fastidious, if not exactly a political epicurean, and this kind of treatment is not good enough for me. If it is continued, the members of the Government will have to submit to the painful process of being disillusioned as often as may be necessary.

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