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Tuesday, 29 November 1938

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON (BarkerPostmasterGeneral) . - The ques.tion before the House is the allotment of time for the consideration of the Estimates. Opposition members will concede that two Supply bills have already been passed to enable supply to be granted to His Majesty until the 30th November, and they know that the only alternative to passing the Estimates is the introduction of another Supply bill. I venture the opinion that were the Government either to-day or tomorrow to introduce another Supply bill, its action would be condemned by the Opposition on the ground that the Estimates should be dealt with.

Mr Forde - Why was not Parliament called together earlier?

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - Parliament sat fairly early in the financial year. Members opposite either have short memories, or they are taking; advantage of this opportunity to launch an attack on the Government. Even the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin) must concede that the Government was no more responsible for the European crisis which delayed the proceedings of Parliament in September and October than was the Opposition itself.

Mr Curtin - The Opposition was not responsible for the fighting that took place among Ministers and supporters of the Government.

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - During the crisis in Europe members of the Opposition were in no better mood, condition or temper to proceed with the discussion of ordinary business than were members on this side of the chamber.

Mr Curtin - The words " mood " and "temper" may be appropriate, but certainly not the word "condition".

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - Another unfortunate matter which occurred last month delayed proceedings quite a week.

Mr Curtin - Cabinet re-construction also caused trouble.

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - In view of all the circumstances, the Government has no need to apologize for its action. The Treasurer {Mr. Casey) showed how the time occupied in discussing the budget has been divided between Government supporters and Opposition members.

Mr Forde - Would the PostmasterGeneral agree to the present motion if he were still a private member?

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - The King's government must be carried on. Honorable members know that much of the debate on the first item of the Estimates is only remotely connected with the financial and constructional programme of the Government. In my opinion, altogether too much time has been devoted to matters which could be discussed better when the votes for the several departments are before us.

Mr Curtin - Hear, hear!

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - I am pleased to have the acquiescence of the Leader of the Opposition in my statement, for, naturally, the greatest sinners in this connexion are to be found among his supporters.

Mr Forde - The guillotine will not allow sufficient time for discussion when the departmental votes come before us.

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - It has been urged that not sufficient time will be allowed for the discussion of the Defence Estimates. I remind the House that recently there has been one of the longest and most thorough debates on the subject of defence that has ever taken place in this Parliament. I do not think that there was a nook or cranny in the Defence Estimates that was overlooked. The Government cannot be charged with having attempted to stifle debate on that subject.

Mr SPEAKER - The Minister's time has expired.

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