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Thursday, 12 May 1921

Senator KEATING (Tasmania) . - Senator Thomas seems to misconceive the motion. The debate on the agreement has already been entered upon, and the Minister (Senator Russell) has moved its ratification by the Senate. The debate hasbeen adjourned, and the motion before us is that its resumption be made an Order of the Day for to-morrow. If Senator Thomas and others do not feel disposed to finalize it to-morrow, it does not follow that we shall be called upon to-morrow afternoon to say yea or nay to the ratification of the agreement.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the Minister want it ratified before we rise ?

Senator KEATING - That is another matter.

Senator Russell - I only want to get the paper printed to-day. That is as far as I wish to go to-day.

Senator KEATING - Senator Thomasseems to be under the impression that the debate will be resumed and finished tomorrow.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Minister may tell us to-morrow that it is necessary to finish it, as we were told the other day that it was necessary to finish the debate on the wool arrangement in twenty-four hours to save Australia from collapsing. To-morrow we may be told that the agreement must be ratified by 4 o'clock.

Senator KEATING - If this motion is carried we cannot discuss the agreement to-day, even if we finish our other business and have some time to spare this evening. Once we resume the debate tomorrow, if honorable senators show reasons why the agreement should not be dealt with finally, the ultimate decision of the Senate on it may probably be arrived at on some day after to-morrow. For the present, I am going to support the motion for the resumption- of the debate to-morrow.

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