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Thursday, 20 November 1913

Senator BAKHAP (Tasmania) . - As we have now a repetition of the action which was taken yesterday, I think it my duty to say- a few words. Yesterday I did not consider that it was necessary to say anything. I thought it just as well to allow the responsibility of dealing with the matter to remain with Ministers. I am a senator assisting in the representation of a small State, to which the status of the Senate is particularly dear and essential, and I must protest against what I consider to be a- misuse of the functions of this Chamber.

Senator Blakey - You are not saying a word about the " gag " in another place.

Senator BAKHAP - I submit very respectfully, and in no heated spirit, that the Senate is misusing its functions when it interferes in a matter of the purely internal regulation of the affairs of another place.

Senator Needham - Your leader instituted that by adjourning the Senate.

Senator BAKHAP - No. If the honorable senator will allow me to discriminate, I will do him the justice of believing that he can perceive the line of discrimination. We did not adjourn a fortnight ago out of respect to the proceedings in another place, except inasmuch as they affected our own proceedings. Our legislative work, in a way, would have resembled the labours of Sisyphus, had we gone on with business while there was a possibility of the Administration being defeated in another Chamber; but, as a matter of fact, another place has decided, by virtue of its own regulations, to relegate the censure' motion to a place on the notice-paper which prevents its discussion. That censure motion is not under discussion, so that our proceedings cannot be affected by the fact that there is a censure motion on the noticepaper in another place. I stress the point that it is an absolute misuse of our functions as a Chamber of review, to interfere in what is a matter of the internal regulation of the conduct of business in another place.

Senator Long - Wake up ! Wake up !

Senator BAKHAP - I am awake. I say the present action is being taken by a party which, in its political heart, has no respect for' the Senate as an institution, and which wishes to see the Senate abolished. One of the objects the Labour party has in view in connexion with its action in this particular matter is to bring the Senate, I will not say into disrepute, but into public disapprobation.

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