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Friday, 6 October 1911

Senator RAE (New South Wales) . - I am very sorry if I have said anything which reflects on the Minister. I had no intention of doing so, and I most unreservedly withdraw any remarks of mine which bear that complexion. But I consider that I have just as much right to express my opinion on this Bill as has the Minister. I admit that he has not attempted to bludgeon the measure through in any way, and that he has met the criticism which has been levelled against it with a surprising amount of good temper. I honestly believe that if the Minister had anticipated the opposition which has been shown to this measure, it would never have been introduced. There will be some justification for the time wasted over it if the discussion will prevent the introduction of such trivial legislation in future. While that may not have been intended, it is, in effect, an insult to the Senate to bring such absolutely futile and inept legislation before it. I feel it keenly when, because of it, the Senate is delayed in the performance of duties which it might perform with honour and credit to the country. It is not what honorable senators who are opposed to the Bill have said, but the Bill itself that is reducing the work of the Senate to an absolute farce.

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