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Tuesday, 16 August 1921

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon T Givens - The honorable senator is not in order in commenting on another place at all.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - In the matter of intelligence I shall not quarrel with the degree of intelligence claimed for the Senate. The mere fact that Senator Thomas and I hold seats in the Senate sufficiently demonstrates that point. There is, however, a reasonable and an unreasonable measure of progress. If the Senate of thirtysix members is going to take the same length of time to deal with 202 items as another place with double that membership occupies in dealing with 290 items, it must be said that the Senate is travelling with supremeand dignified caution, or that another place proceeded with commendable rapidity.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Why not say that the Senate does its work more thoroughly ?

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I wish I could say that. But when I find honorable senators getting up and repeating time after time the same statements, I think I am justified in asking honorable senators, not only for their own credit, but for the convenience of the majority, to endeavour to make better progress.

Senator Gardiner - I should like to know whether the Minister is in order in saying that honorable senators get up and make the same statements time after time.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I will withdraw anything that may offend my honorable friend. I hope that what I have said has not injured his inner conscience too deeply.

Senator Gardiner - There was no reference to me; I wished merely to observe the rules of the Senate.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - There are two items of the Tariff yet to be considered which in another place occupied attention for six days. I hope that we shall not have a similar experience here; but these items deal with . matters of great importance, and I may assume that honorable senators will spend more time upon them than they have considered it necessary to spend in considering the average of the items already dealt with. This will probably mean, if we proceed with the rate of progress we have already made that we shall not complete the consideration of the Tariff until towards the end of September. Every one knows the desire of the Government that the Tariff shall be disposed of in time to permit of the Bud-' get being submitted in another place prior to the return of the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes). The undertaking has. been given in another place that the Budget will be submitted next month, and, in the circumstances, I do not, as has been suggested elsewhere, attempt to coerce the Senate, because the Governmnt could never do that; but I ask honorable senators to devote a little more time on Wednesdays and Thursdays to the consideration of the Tariff in order to enable us to make greater progress with it than we have hitherto registered.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - When does the honorable senator want us to finish the Tariff ?

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the honorable senator refer to my personal desire ?


Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I want the Tariff to be returned to another place by

SenatorPratten. - That is, if we will stand it.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - May I ask who are "We"?

SenatorPratten. - The Senate.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The majority,of course, will rule. Three or four honorable senators are not going to inconvenience the Senate; of that I am convinced.

SenatorLynch. - They will have their say, all the same.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I have put the position before honorable senators. What I propose is not to suit my personal convenience, as honorable senators are aware. On the contrary, it is a very great inconvenience to any one charged with the administration of a Department to give up mornings which might be devoted to departmental duties. On the other hand, I equally object to all-night sittings; but it does seem to me that, in. view of our present rate of progress, honorable senators should agree to meet in the mornings of the two days referred to in my motion, or, alternatively, to sit later at night than we have been in the habit of doing. If not, we cannot hope to dispose of the Tariff by the middle of next month. I venture to say that every one regards it as desirable that we should be in a position to return the Tariff to another place by the date I have mentioned.

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