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Tuesday, 5 December 1905
Page: 6256

Mr McWILLIAMS (Franklin) - I hope that if the Prime Minister has made up his mind to have . prolonged sittings, he will make some specialarrangements for the Hansard staff. Otherwise, it will mean sweating of the most brutal description. Even sitting as we do, the Hansard staff have to come back in the mornings to read proofs. Their work is not finished by any means when the House rises; they have their "takes" to complete, and if we sit thirteen hours a day they will have to work from fourteen to sixteen hours at a stretch.

Mr Poynton - The honorable member ought to have considered that when he was assisting to keep us here for fifty-seven hours.

Mr McWILLIAMS - I think that what I am saying is reasonable, and I hope that it will receive consideration from the Prime Minister.

Mr Deakin - Hansard deserves every consideration.

Mr McWILLIAMS - It is not desired by the members of the Anti-Sweating League, or, I am sure, by Labour members to make the Hansard staff work for fifteen or sixteen hours a day until the end of the session. I hope that if we are to have prolonged sittings, special arrangements will be made for their relief.

Mr. LONSDALE(New England).Approaching the close of a session it is customary for the Prime Minister to state what work he wishes Parliament to do. In the newspapers we read that a number of new Bills are to be introduced. Surely the Prime Minister cannot expect that the Bills on the notice-paper, and the new Bills which are to be introduced, can receive proper consideration if we sit so many hours a day? There is a sort of idea abroad that when a Bill is drafted it is perfect. If that were the case, the best thing we could do would be to close the Parliament, and allow the draftsman to frame our legislation. The time of the House has been wasted this session, not by members of the Opposition, but by honorable members on the Ministerial side. For instance, fourteen days were wasted over the closure. A good deal of time has been wasted in the past by the honorable member for Wide Bay. But for the waste of time which has occurred these long sittings would not be needed. If the Ministers had gone on straight with their measures they would have been almost passed by this time. If we are to meet at half-past 10 o'clock in the morning, the Prime Minister should let us know what work he expects us to do. I do not wish' to come to Melbourne every week. I am willing to sit for whatever time may be necessary, in order to bring the session to a close. We are told that we are to have an Anti-Trusts Bill, and I presume that we shall be asked to sacrifice our opinions, and to accept it holus-bolus. The Trade Marks Bill furnishes a good example of the manner in which the Government Bills are framed. The contingent notice-paper is crowded with amendments which have been framed by Ministers, in order to perfect their own measures. Although the Bills are introduced in this imperfect form, still we are expected not to say a word about their defects, but to accept them all. If the Prime Minister will outline his programme for the rest of the session, I shall be prepared to do all I can in order to get out of this place as soon as possible, but I am not prepared to sit long hours in order to pass an Anti-Trusts Bill.

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