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Friday, 8 May 1942

Mr BRENNAN (Batman) .- The Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin), who has not been conspicuous for his zeal in calling the Parliament together frequently, or in encouraging long sittings of the House, now suggests in kindly and moderate terms that discussion should be limited by reason of the serious and responsible administrative duties that fall to the members of the Government. I quite appreciate the importance of those duties, but I have said before that there is no reason why this House should not continue to sit without engrossing the whole of the time, or any considerable part of the time, of Ministers. Some Ministers, of course, must necessarily be in the chamber, and I quite appreciate that all Ministers might have some anxiety lest a hostile vote be carried in this House; but that is by the way. Ministers should continue their administrative duties and the Parliament should continue to attend to its duties. The electorate should be in touch with the Parliament, and the Parliament should be in touch with the Government. Many things have been done by the present Government which I pay it the compliment of thinking would not have been done if Parliament had been in session. Notwithstanding the anxiety of some of my critics opposite to be relieved of their part-time duties, in order that they may get back to their normal profiteering enterprises-

Mr Rankin - Lawyers also profiteer.

Mr BRENNAN - The honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Rankin) is, I submit, out of order. He must not try to overawe me by his military uniform. I think it is objectionable that an honorable member should come into this chamber wearing the insignia of his military rank.

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