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Wednesday, 20 April 1904

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not think that we should enter upon the consideration of this matter, even at a formal stage, in view of the discussion of another Bill which is now engaging our attention. I have no wish to in any way interfere with or retard consideration of the carrying out of the proposed survey.

Sir John Forrest - Then why do so?

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Because I think that certain things are due to this House.

Sir John Forrest - Notice was given of the intention to move this motion.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) -Why should the consideration of this matter be allowed to intervene in the midst of an important debate, when no other business would be allowed to do so? Why should it be taken at this juncture to suit the convenience of the Ministry or of a Minister ?

Sir John Forrest - The motion is merely a formal one; it will not bind the House.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The discussion of an important matter of this kind cannot at any stage 'be regarded as formal. The motion initiates a very large expenditure, which we should discuss at the earliest stage. I do not say whether I am or am not favorable to the proposed survey. I say that this is not the occasion on which to introduce the matter. It should be kept back until the House is in a position to give it full discussion.

Sir John Forrest - This is not the stage for discussion.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The proposal is too important to be regarded as formal at any stage. At every stage we should act with our eyes open as to what it involves. Therefore I am sure that the right honorable gentleman would not wish to force the question on the House without that proper consideration which it ought to receive at its earliest stages. I must say that it is rather extraordinary that the Prime Minister should allow the important business of which he is in charge, and which is occupying the attention of the House, to be interfered with at the present time by such an interposition. I suggest that, instead of creating a debate, such as this motion will probably do if it be gone on with, the Minister for Home Affairs, having placed the matter on the business paper, should allow it to be brought forward at a later stage,' when it can get that proper attention at its initiation 'which the importance of the expenditure deserves.

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