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Tuesday, 17 June 1902

Mr DEAKIN (Ballarat) (AttorneyGeneral) . - I move -

That the House do now adjourn.

In doing so, I desire to ball attention to the state of public business. It is now evident that the Senate is likely to be engaged upon the discussion of the Customs Tariff Bill for some three or four weeks longer. Under these circumstances, and recognising the strain which has been imposed upon honorable members, the Government feel that a short interval should be afforded to them before they resume consideration of that measure upon its return from another place. The only remaining Bills which absolutely require to be disposed of prior to that short adjournment consist of the Electoral Bill - the second - reading debate upon which I had hoped to see concluded this evening - and the Bonus Bill, which forms part of the Tariff proposals of the Government. The House has made it evident that the latter measure will require amendment, and certainly senators are entitled to know what those amendments are, especially as some of those already proposed would radically alter the character of the. measure. They are, therefore,justified in asking to be made acquainted with the, form which the amendments will take before being called upon to deal with Division VIa. of the Tariff, which is dependent upon the Bonus Bill. It is because of, not a desire to unduly force that measure upon the attention of the House, but simply of the necessities of the case, that I ask honorable members to complete its consideration. Whenwe have come to a decision upon these points wemight well adjourn. I have taken an opportunity of consulting Mr. Speaker, and believe that there is no constitutional objection to that adjournment being of a provisional character. That is to say, we might adjourn until a fixed date - possibly three weeks or a month hence - on the understanding that if unexpectedly the Tariff were disposed of by the Senate before that date, Mr. Speaker could, by giving honorable members some days' notice, fix a day for the re-assembling of the House. It is undesirable that the discussion upon the Tariff should be delayed a single day by any adjournment. Once we have disposed of the business which is absolutely preliminary to the Tariff, there is no reason why we should not adjourn.

Mr POYNTON (SOUTH AUSTRALIA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Is it intended to adjourn this week ?

Mr DEAKIN - Yes, if we can dispose of the business I have mentioned.

Mr Poynton - Next week is Coronation week.

Mr DEAKIN - Yes, and in the interests of representatives from the distant States, we should, if it be necessary, sit a portion of next week to dispose of the business referred to, so that honorable members may have two or three weeks' adjournment, which will enable them to return to their homes.

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