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Thursday, 4 June 1903

Mr WINTER COOKE - I cannot go beyond the facts stated in the letter. This is not the only case in which delay has occurred at the Custom-house. No rightthinking man will find fault with the

Minister for taking care that the revenue and honest traders are alike protected, but the delays which occur at the Customs con-, stitutea great grievance amongst commercial men. I am not an importer, and I know very few importers, but from what I can gather their complaints do not relate so much to being brought before the courts as to having to submit to unnecessary delays.

Mr Kingston - The constant delays have been inseparable from the initiation of the administration.

Mr WINTER COOKE - I quite understand the Minister when he says that he cannot compress 48 hours' work into 24 ; but if it is impossible for him to do the work, surely the Cabinet is sufficiently strong to permit of the administration being shared by some other Minister.

Mr Kingston - The troubles connected with the initiation of the new administration, and inseparable from it, are now being overcome.

Mr WINTER COOKE - I understand that the work is still so excessive that the days are not long enough for the Minister.

Mr Kingston - I did not say that as regards the present administration.

Mr WINTER COOKE - When federation was first talked of there was some fear that under the new condition of affairs the system of responsible government, as understood in the States, would break down. In this connexion I was very much impressed by a remark of the honorable member for Bland. He urged on the Ministry that they should be more methodical in the work they brought before the House- that we should have a Bill put before us, and that we should carry that Bill through, and not have other Bills introduced so that members forget all about the ' earlier measure. There was one thing that the honorable member for Bland could not find fault with, and that was the method of the Ministry in obeying his orders. Over and over again during the last session this Government yielded to the very skilful and courteous leadership of the honorable member for Bland.

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