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Friday, 27 August 1920

Mr HECTOR LAMOND - We have not all the vigour of the honorable member for Wakefield. I hope that the Prime Minister will consider whether a better working arrangement could not be arrived at, by which we could do the same amount of work with less inconvenience to honorable members than is involved under the present system. Honorable members representing New South Wales and South Australian constituencies come to Melbourne on the Wednesday afternoon. The House meets at 3 o'clock, and we sit here for some time. On the Thursday, however, we have to idle about, attending, perhaps, to a few letters, which might occupy half-an-hour, until the House meets at 2.30 o'clock in the afternoon. I would prefer to do any work that has to be done in the time we are obliged to spend in Melbourne loafing about, and to employ the time saved by the arrangement I have suggested in my own constituency, doing work that honorable members must do in their own States. As I say, I would not object to sitting continuously for a fortnight if by so doing we could have a free week in which to attend to our other parliamentary work, afterwards coming back with some hope of being able to follow the intricacies of debate. The present system has this disadvantage - that after a month or two of strenuous work, involved in continuous sittings, none of us, as the Prime Minister has truthfully said, are in that mental state that will enable us to do our duty to the measures placed before us. Of course, presumably Cabinet has given full consideration to the Bills, enabling them to come before us in an admirable form, but if Parliament is to perform any useful function its members ought to have their mental faculties in pretty fair order when they are called upon to consider the intricate details of legislation, and there is no doubt painstaking caTe is involved in the study of some of the measures put before us. However, I am in favour of the motion, because the arrangement it will bring about is better than the present one, but still I hope that some other method of conducting our business will be devised in the future.

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