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Wednesday, 23 March 1904

Mr CROUCH (Corio) - I am sorry that there should not be a meeting of the House to-morrow, because I have a very important motion on . the notice-paper for that day relating to the administration of the Customs Department. It would appear as though the Minister for Trade and Customs is not willing to face the music. If the motion is not considered to-morrow, there will be no chance to consider it for perhaps another month. The motion is placed on the notice-paper, as honorable members are aware, because I was not accorded the courtesy ordinarily given to members of Parliament in the .production of papers.

Mr Deakin - I do not think it -was understood. I explained the matter afterwards.

Mr CROUCH - If the Prime Minister will assure me that the papers for which I asked will be laid upon the table of the House, or placed in the library, I shall have much pleasure in withdrawing my motion.

Mr Deakin - I cannot speak for the Minister for Trade and Customs now. As the honorable and learned member's motion has been placed on the paper the Minister must speak for himself.

Mr CROUCH - We have agreed to an arrangement to take private members' business on the Thursday, and on the very first occasion the Government departs from the arrangement made.

Mr Deakin - I gave this afternoon for the discussion of private members' business.

Mr CROUCH - I am sorry that the rules of the House do not permit of my bringing on to-day a motion on the paper for to-morrow, because I am quite prepared to discuss it. Perhaps the Prime Minister will assure me. that I shall be given an early opportunity for its discussion.

Mr Deakin - --I do not know what an early opportunity may mean.

Mr CROUCH - I might be given some time when ordinary Government business is on the paper.

Mr Deakin - I cannot promise Government time for it.

Mr CROUCH - I am sorry that the discussion of the motion should have to be postponed for a month or' so. It is most unfortunate that it should have to appear on the notice-paper at all. Seeing that the arrangement with respect to private members' business has not been adhered to, I hope that when we do come to discuss my motion, honorable members will consider that an additional reason for supporting me in the action I take, in the interests of good government and honest administration, to procure certain documents.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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