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Friday, 7 July 1905
Friday, 7 July 1905

The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.


SenatorFINDLEY. - I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, a series of questions relating to Chinese immigrants.

Senator PLAYFORD.-I would ask the honorable senator to give notice of the questions for the next day of sitting.

Senator FINDLEY.- I beg to give notice accordingly.

The PRESIDENT. - It seems to meand I think that the principle was adopted last session by the Senate -that information of this nature ought to be obtained by means of a motion, and not a question,because it really involves a return. However, I am not prepared to rule the notice out of order.


Senator PLAYFORD(South Australia -Minister of Defence). - Honorable senators will recollect that when we met last Wednesday the Minister then leading the Senate informed this House that in consequence of a certain recommendation which the then Ministry had tendered to His Excellency the Governor-General, arid which hadnot been accepted, they were only holding office until their successors were appointed. Mr. Deakin was sent for by the Governor- General, and on Wednesday afternoon he submitted to His Excellency a list of the new Ministry, as follows : -

The Honorable Alfred Deakin - Prime Minister, and Minister of State for External Affairs;

The Honorable Isaac Alfred Isaacs - AttorneyGeneral ;

The Honorable Sir William John Lyne - Minister of State for Trade and Customs ;

The Right Honorable Sir John Forrest - Treasurer ;

The Honorable. Austin Chapman - PostmasterGeneral;

Senator theHonorable ThomasPlayford - Minister of State for Defence ;

The Honorable Littleton Ernest Groom - Minister of State for Home Affairs ;

The Honorable Thomas Thomson Ewing - Vice-President of the Executive Council ;

Senator theHonorable John Henry Keating - Member of the Executive Council.

His Excellency was pleased to approve of the list, and on Wednesday afternoon Ministers were sworn in. They now have to ask each House to grant a reasonable adjournment, so that when business is resumed they may be able to state the measures with which they intend to occupy the attention of Parliament during the remainder of the session. I move- -

That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until Wednesday, 26th July, at 2.30 p.m.

On that date I, on behalf of the Government, shall be prepared to fully state to the Senate the' measures which we intend to submit for its consideration.

Senator WALKER(New South Wales). - In the absence of the more prominent members of the Opposition, I desire to congratulate our friend's upon their accession to office. I am sure that we are all delighted to see our friend Senator Playford representing the Government in the Senate ; and I congratulate Senator Keating, the youngest member of the Ministry, upon his rapid and well-deserved promotion. I take this opportunity of saying that I deeply regret the very ungenerous action of a section of the press towards the ex-Prime Minister. When persons meet with what is popularly called misfortune, their opponents in politics do not go on blackguarding them, to use a common expression, but rather extend to them some degree of sympathy. I exceedingly deplore that in a leading article yesterday a leading newspaper in this city uses such extraordinarily vituperative language against the Right Hon. G. H. Reid. I feel the less hesitation in mentioning this matter, because I am aware that many members of the Labour Party quite agree with what I am saying. It seems to me absolutely ungenerous that once a man is down, so to speak, a person should use Red Indian tactics, indulge in tomahawking and scalp hunting, and try to make his name a by-word and reproach. Whatever Mr. Reid's failings may be, he certainly does not deserve that treatment from his opponents. I think we are all glad to notice that the rising generation of Australia are taking such a prominent part in its government. In the new Ministry I notice that there are no fewer than eight Australians, and our friend, Senator Playford, is the sole representative of the mother country by birth, but a splendid representative he is. I think we shall all be ready to back our British representative, in size at all events, against any of his colleagues.

Senator Higgs.- Holding these views, the honorable senator should be sitting on this side.

Senator WALKER.- Oh, no. I hope to be able to give an independent support to any good measures which may be brought forward. ' We have all heard before now that adversity makes strange bedfellows. It seems to me that on the present occasion prosperity has had the same effect, because not a few of the gentlemen in the Ministry have at times differed very materially in sentiment towards one another. We have now, I take it, a happy family in the Chamber.. I am very sorry that the benches on this side are not more fully occupied. But I think I may take it upon myself to congratulate the individual members of the Ministry on their accession to office. We trust that nothing will be done to weaken the good feeling which does and which ought to prevail between honorable senators on both sides of the chamber.

Senator McGREGOR(South Australia). - I also rise to congratulate the members of the new Ministry, whom I claim to be personal and very good friends of my own. I also congratulate them upon the appearance of the Senate. I wonder where the Opposition is to-day? To my dim vision there only appears to be a quartette, and although Senator Walker has1 posed as the leader on this occasion, I really believe that the natural leader would be Senator Dobson, because he is the only singer amongst them. If they were up to his leadership then the Senate might look forward to a considerable amount of enjoyment.

Senator Pearce.- Harmony.

Senator McGREGOR.- An honorable senator interjects " harmony," but I do not know much about that. I hope that the representatives of the Government here will carry out their duties as successfully as the Attorney-General in the last Government did ; and I have to thank that honorable and learned gentleman for the very kindly manner in which he spoke respecting myself. I have not the least doubt that, with the advantage of Senator Playford's past experience, and Senator Keating's known ability, the present Government will have no reason to complain of the way in which its business is carried on here.

In the interest of the Government, I am very glad to hear that Senator Walker is prepared to give them a general support.

Senator Pearce.- An independent support.

Senator Walker.- To good measures.

Senator McGREGOR.- I am very glad to hear that the honorable senator is prepared to give the Government an independent support. We are all prepared to do that, and for that reason I hope that a great deal of useful work will be done this session. To a very great extent that will depend upon the programme which will be submitted on the 26th instant by Senator Playford. I hope that it will give satisfaction, not only to the members of the Senate, but also to the Parliament as a whole, and to the people of Australia. I trust that the major portion of the programme will be carried into effect, and that Australia will derive a benefit from its enactment. I have much pleasure in supporting the motion and congratulating the members of the Ministry.

Senator DOBSON(Tasmania). - I understand that a number of Bills have been prepared by the late Government, and I suppose that the present Government will accept some of them. Will the leader of the Senate do his best to distribute any Bills which may be ready before the 26th instant, so that during the holiday, when we shall have little or nothing to do, we may make use of the opportunity to equip ourselves for the work of the session?

Senator Playford.- I will mention the matter to my colleague's, and we will do the best we can.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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