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Thursday, 3 April 1941

Senator CAMERON (Victoria) . - In regard to the proceedings in the chamber this evening, I want it to be understood that no discourtesy was intended to you, Mr. President, or to any honorable senator. I felt that I was justified in demanding an explanation of the bills submitted, and in this I was only exercising the privilege which I hold in common with all other senators. During the two years that I have been a member of the Senate, I have never reflected upon any honorable senator in a personal way, though I have been as critical as I thought the circumstances justified. On several occasions, however, Ministers of the Crown who, if they have no respect for themselves, should have respect for the positions they hold, have reflected upon me in a personal way. I have always acted in this chamber in support of the policy to which I am pledged, of which I approve and of which I am proud. On no occasion have I departed from any of the decisions reached by the party to which I belong, or from its policy.

My protest to-night was directed against the procedure adopted. I understood Senator Johnston to remark that we should have protested before to-night. We have protested. I think he too has protested. On different occasions we have said to the Government with courtesy and reasonableness, "Give us a little more consideration, treat us as we should be treated ". Surely in voicing our protest we should not be forced into a debate in which there are recriminations and the attributing of ulterior motives. I hope that as a result of the protest which, in my opinion, was justified, Ministers in this chamber will confer with their colleagues in Cabinet and try to convince them that members of the Opposition in this chamber should receive the consideration which Ministers in the House of Representatives extend to the Opposition. In an emergency, I am prepared to accept in good faith within limitations that which I may be asked to accept, but I do not think that any member of the Opposition in this chamber is prepared to do that indefinitely. I trust that our protest will not go unnoticed and that there will be no necessity for a repetition of the protest which has been made to-night.

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