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Wednesday, 2 December 1936

Senator COLLINGS (Queensland) . - At last Parliament is to be given an opportunity to consider the very important subject which the Minister (Senator A. J. McLachlan) has just introduced. When a frantic rush is now being made to get into recess I have a very vivid recollection of another similar rush when Parliament last adjourned, late in the evening on the 22nd May last, two very bulky roneoed documents were thrown before honorable senators, and no sooner had they been distributed than the Senate adjourned until the 10th September. Originally it was the Government's intention that Parliament should adjourn on the 8th May, but when that date arrived it was obvious that there was no chance of an adjournment, and it was then decided that the sittings should terminate on the 15th May. On that date it was again obvious that the temper of the members of both Houses was of such a character that there was no likelihood of members dispersing that day. On the 22nd May, it was desired to adjourn in sufficient time to enable members of both Houses to join the 4.15 p.m. train, but it was discovered that that was impracticable. It was then thought that an adjournment could be made in sufficient time to enable us to join the 8.30 p.m. train. That was also impracticable and a bus was chartered to connect with the train at Goulburn. It then transpired that that would be useless so a fleet of cars was commandeered to connect with the train by midnight. Since the adjournment on that date, honorable senators have not been given an opportunity to discuss one of the most momentous fiscal proposals ever brought before Parliament. Since the 22nd May, many irresponsible bodies, chambers of commerce, chambers of manufactures, financial institutions, newspaper organizations and graziers' associations have been able to go carefully into the Government's trade diversion policy.

Senator MARWICK (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - And also Labour organizations.

Senator COLLINGS - Exactly. Since the 22nd May persons who are not responsible to the electors, and who do not have to undertake the responsibility of the legislative work of the nation, have been able to study these proposals, and have not hesitated to express themselves upon it, but the Minister, having ' now moved "the second reading of this bill, we are supposed to be prepared to go straight ahead with the job. We were chased into recess on the 22nd May because the Government did not dare to stand up to the criticisms of the members of this Parliament.

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