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Wednesday, 10 June 1903

Mr CONROY (Werriwa) - I would point out to honorable members that the Bill, the second reading of which we are now being asked to allow to-morrow, is not yet before us. A practice has grown up of asking for leave to read Bills upon certain days, which, if continued, will bring us back to the old position of affairs, when we knew nothing of what was to be put before us for consideration. No deliberative body can do its business properly under such a system. Honorable members should not allow measures to be read a second time until they have had an opportunity to study their provisions and to ascertain their effect. So far as possible the House should confine its attention each week to some particular measure, and proceed as far as possible towards the completion of its consideration before commencing with another. Under the old system honorable members, after giving their attention for some time to one measure, were suddenly called upon to deal with some other for the consideration of which they were quite unprepared, and I feel it time to enter an empathic protest against such a method of conducting business. One cannot altogether blame the Ministry, because the practice of which I complain is an old one ; but we should not be asked to consent to the second reading of Bills until copies of them have been circulated, and we have been able to make ourselves acquainted with their provisions. The House is at present discussing the

J udiciary Bill - a measure whose provisions are fraught with great importance to the whole Commonwealth, and are to be criticised without party bias. That being so, I submit that we should not suddenly be asked to deal with other matters. It will be soon enough to deal with the abolition of the rebate of the excise duty upon sugar next week.

Sir George Turner - All I intend to do is to make my second reading speech tomorrow and then adjourn the debate, so that honorable members may have an opportunity of studying the figures which I shall put before them.

Mr.CONROY. - I submit that we should not be asked to consider the Bill at all at the present time. When a second reading explanation is made by a Minister, and the debate adjourned, his speech is often quite forgotten by honorable members upon the resumption of the discussion. I raise my voice against the consideration of other matters while we are engaged upon an important Bill. Of course, if it is the wish of the House that the Bill to provide for the rebate of the excise duty upon sugar be taken to-morrow, there is no more to be said, because one man cannot oppose the will of the whole Chamber ; but I am of opinion that we should not be asked to read this Bill to-morrow.

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