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Thursday, 20 November 1913

Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania) (Honorary Minister) . - Before the motion is put, I should like to submit to the Senate certain considerations on this matter, because ifI failed to do so I might probably be charged - and justly so - with keeping back something from honorable senators that I think they ought to know with regard to the course of business. I hope that I shall not be misunderstood, but in order that there may be no chance of any honorable senator being unaware of the present position of business, I make this statement. As you know, sir, the second reading of the Loan Bill has been moved. I wish to inform the Senate that it is important - very important - that that measure should be dealt with. That that is so will be realized if honorable senators consider the necessity for carrying on the big works which the Commonwealth has in hand. I can hardly say within what definite time things will reach a crisis if the Bill be not passed, and some of the works - perhaps all of them - that are now in progress in the Commonwealth have to be stopped. . But I assure the Senate because I think, quite apart from any party considerations, it is fair that honorable senators opposite should know-

Senator Findley - The Government will be responsible for any stoppage.

Senator CLEMONS - As to the matter of responsibility, we can each bear the share which ought properly to be allotted to us. But I wish to say very seriously that it is important, that the Loan Bill should pass within a comparatively short time. When the Senate was last sitting, I did hope and believe that the Bill would be disposed of before the end of this week. As to the rest of the business before us, I admit freely that much of it is decidedly contentious: But I do submit to the Opposition very seriously that the question of the passing of the Loan Bill, lit any rate as to the major portion of the works with which it deals - assuming that there is a possibility of a difference of opinion with regard to some of them - is a matter which ought to engage the attention of the Senate without the slightest regard either to political troubles elsewhere, or to our internal party dissensions. As a Minister sitting here, I arn not personally troubled, but I have made these remarks because, as I have said, I consider it to be my duty to honorable senators, as well as- to myself, that I should explain the position.

Senator O'LOGHLIN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -Colonel O'loghlin. - Submit the position to the Prime Minister; it rests with him whether we go on with the business or not.

Senator CLEMONS - That is not the question with which I am dealing, and I do not wish to deal with it. I am appealing to the Senate because I am concerned in its business just as much as any member of the Opposition can be. I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that it is fair to the Senate as a whole that it should be informed as to the results that may follow from delay in the early consideration of the important Bill which I have mentioned.

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