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Thursday, 3 June 1926

Senator GRANT (New South Wales) . - The sharp conflict of opinion between Senator Guthrie and Senator Elliott was very amusing, but I was even more interested in the remarks of Senator Drake-Brockman. These legal gentlemen know the value of propaganda when it is employed at the right moment. It is as well, therefore, that the air should be cleared. Senator Drake-Brockman is entirely opposed to the idea that Parliament should have anything to do with the fixing of hours in any particular industry.

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Newlands - This argument on the question of hours of labour has proceeded far enough. I do not propose to allow it to continue. Therefore, I ask Senator Grant to confine his remarks to the item before the committee.

Senator GRANT - You allowed considerable latitude to Senator DrakeBrockman, Senator Lynch, Senator Millen, and Senator Guthrie. If you, sir, rule that I may not follow them on the same lines I shall have to move to dissent from your ruling. I should have an opportunity to reply to statements made by honorable senators who are supporting the Government.

The CHAIRMAN - I point out to the honorable senator that I have given no ruling.

Senator GRANT - Did you not rule me out of order?

The CHAIRMAN - No. I informed the honorable senator that the discussion on the hours of labour had proceeded far enough, and that, he must confine his remarks to the item actually under discussion. He will be in order in making passing reference to the hours of labour.

Senator GRANT - Very well; but I resent, sir, your interference with me in this matter. You allowed other honorable senators, one after the other, to deal at some length with the hours of labour. Your attitude towards me is scandalous.

The CHAIRMAN - The honorable gentleman will withdraw that remark.

Senator GRANT - I withdraw it. In reply to Senator Drake-Brockman, I remind honorable senators that the New South Wales Parliament, with the very best results, interfered with the hours of labour in connexion with the closing of shops, and similar legislation is now in force throughout the Commonwealth. The Parliament of New South Wales also took a hand in fixing the hours of labour.

The CHAIRMAN - The honorable gentleman's remarks have no bearing whatever on the item before the committee.

Senator GRANT - You allowed other honorable senators considerable latitude when speaking about the hours of labour, but immediately I attempt to reply to them, in order to put the views of honorable senators on this side of the chamber, you declare that the discussion must cease.

Senator Drake-Brockman - Do it on the adjournment.

Senator GRANT - I have more sense than to attempt to do that. I know the proper time and place for the debate on this subject. Are honorable senators aware that in some industries in Australia men are working nine hours a day ?

Senator Lynch - Shocking !

Senator GRANT - Such a state of affairs should not be tolerated. What are the hours worked in the profession to which Senator Drake-Brockman and Senator Elliott belong?

The CHAIRMAN - Order ! The honorable gentleman is now defying my ruling. If he continues to do so, I shall ask him to resume his seat.

Senator GRANT - I have no wish to defy your ruling, Mr. Chairman, but I should like to state my point of view on this subject. The next time you interfere with me in this way, I shall move to dissent from your ruling.

Senator Crawford - Why not saysomething about item 110?

Senator GRANT - That item refers to certain classes of manufactured goods which last year were imported to the value of £2,000,000.

Senator Lynch - Under a 40 per cent, tariff.

Senator GRANT - It is now the intention of the Government to increase the duties. However much some honorable senators may object, the Government will win every time.

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