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Friday, 18 November 1921

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Repatriation) . - I was not present on the last occasion when this item was under consideration, but, from what has been said, I submit that it is not fair to say that the request made by the Senate was Senator Pearce's proposal. The Government proposition was in the schedule, as submitted to the Senate. Certain honorable senators made other proposals. Senator Wilson, I understand, made a move for a much higher range of duties than was accepted by the Senate, and Senator Pearce, in his endeavour to bring about an agreement between honorable senators who held divergent views, suggested the compromise which was agreed to.

Senator Wilson - I placed the Department in full possession of all the facts, so there could be no misunderstanding. The suggested compromise came from Senator Pearce, after full consideration of all the facts.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I doubt very much whether Senator Pearce, as Senator Wilson suggests, thoroughly investigated the position, but whether he did or not, the proposition for a compromise was made in order to bring together the two divisions into which the Committee had fallen. It cannot be said that it was what he wanted or what he advocated. It is only fair to recognise that it was not the policy of the Government. It was an expedient suggested by Senator Pearce to overcome the differences of opinion in this Chamber.

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