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Tuesday, 22 March 1927

Senator KINGSMILL (Western Australia) . - To explain my position will take but a few minutes, because my attitude towards the third reading of this measure was foreshadowed in my secondreading speech. I have tried my best to improve the bill in the way in which I think it should be improved. I have done what I could to prevent the Government from committing what, in my judgment, is a very foolish act. Indeed, I have tried my best to give the Government a longer lease of life than I think will be possible with this legislation on the statute-book. But my efforts have been in vain. I regret exceedingly that on an extremely technical point of order the amendment which I proposed to move was ruled out of order. Had it been accepted, it would hare made much easier the way of the Government in the direction of securing a satisfactory conference with the States. As it is, I very much doubt whether the Commonwealth will ever meet in conference with the States off this matter. Already the States have adopted the attitude of standing still and talking in a mournful tone about their moral right. They are secure for a further twelve months.

Senator Sir HENRY BARWELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - That is all.

Senator KINGSMILL.With the States in their present frame of mind, or in that frame of mind which will be theirs after the flames of resentment caused by the alleged inequity of this bill have been fanned by honorable senators opposite, to whom this debate must have been of the greatest interest and satisfaction, any solution which the Commonwealth may offer will fall short of the agonized demands of the States. But the States will have only a short period of martyrdom, because within twelve months of the 30th June, 1928, when the existing arrangement will cease, there will be a general election. I hope that I am prophesying wrongly when I say that I look forward to that election as being the Armageddon of the Nationalist party.

Senator Needham - Who is now speaking with a mournful voice?

Senator KINGSMILL - I have not said that I am personally agitated about the future prospects. I am speaking with a mournful voice on behalf of the party to which I belong. In speaking in this manner I am showing the greatest loyalty to my party, because adherence to a party means adherence to principle, though not necessarily to persons, notwithstanding , that included among the members Of the present Government are men whom I, above all others, would be extremely sorry to see out of office. But they may be headstrong persons, and may disregard the advice given to them by peoplenot all of whomare their enemies. It is possible to be a firm friend of a man, and yet to know him well enough and to like him sufficiently to criticize his actions for his own good. That I have endeavoured to do. But the die is cast; the numbers are up.

I have no doubt that this bill will pass its third reading with what is regarded as a satisfactory majority. Butthe Senate not having repaired that incompleteness which, in my opinion, is the chief fault of the bill, and which I endeavoured to repair, I shall not form one of that majority which will pass it, because I regard its introduction at this juncture as must injudicious and tactless.

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