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Thursday, 12 September 1901
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Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - As the misrepresentation of certain words which I uttered in this debate is of such a serious character, I think I can ask your courtesy, Mr. Speaker, and the courtesy of the House, to allow me to say a word or two in personal explanation. I have read very carefully in the draft report of Hansard the words I uttered in this debate, and I do not withdraw one word of that statement. It is very curious that when I uttered that speech there were no signs of dissension at this so-called disloyalty ; and this is the first time in my life I have ever been accused of being a disloyal subject of His Majesty. I clearly set forth that I believed the proper attitude for this Commonwealth was to tell the British Government what we mean ; and I also said I believed the British Government would see a way out of the peculiar difficulties surrounding the subject. I then drew a picture of the difficulties which might arise in the Government of the British Empire, partly made up of the colonies and partly made up of great Imperial interests in connexion with India and her spheres of influence, and I simply said - it was purely a hypothetical idea - that if in the future in any of those difficulties, emanating from the Government of the Empire itself, it was found impossible to reconcile the demands of the colonies with the aspirations of the colonies, then I, for one, if I had on the one hand a picture of Australia in the same condition as the United States of America, and it was necessary to choose - if that was the only condition under which we could remain part of the British Empire - I would know what course to choose. I candidly say so again, and I uttered no word of disloyalty when I gave expression to that opinion.

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