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Thursday, 22 October 1903

Mr DEAKIN (Ballarat) (Minister for External Affairs) . - I omitted last night to perform, a duty which obviously belongs to as, because I understood that a more fitting opportunity would present itself to-day. . I refer to the expression at the close of the session of our high' appreciation of the manner in which Mr.' Speaker and the officers of the .House have discharged their duties. The session now drawing to a close has not been so interminably long or so gravely serious as that which preceded it, but it has been rich in legislative work and marked by achievements upon which we shall be able to look with satisfaction in the future. The officers of the House have at all times been courteous and have rendered necessary assistance to honorable members. Mr. Speaker has been, - in a sense, not only our controller, but the confidant and counsellor of. honorable members in all matters relating to the business of this Chamber. I take it that we are exceptionally fortunate in finding ourselves in this splendid building, surrounded by a staff of diligent and courteous officers, and presided over by a Speaker who has filled his position with dignity, and who will leave an honoured name behind him.

Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie).I join with the Prime Minister in expressing gratitude to Mr. Speaker for the man- ner in which he has presided over our deliberations, and to the officers for the courtesy and' attention which they have displayed in the discharge of their duties. I think that at the close of this Parliament we have also reason to be satisfied with ourselves. We have had an exceptionally difficult task to perform. We have had to deal with the question of a new Tariff, the much- vexed white Australia question; and many other important matters.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Not forgetting the Capital site question.

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