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Tuesday, 24 May 1904

Mr WATSON (Bland) (Treasurer) . -I had hoped that the debate on the motion relating to the Governmentproposals would have concluded to-night. It seems to me that while we should not attempt to limit the opportunity of honorable members generally to discuss proposals which the Government have put forward, there does not appear any probability of anything definite arising from the motion on which the discussion has taken place. As we have already had an indication from the right honorable gentleman who leads one section of the Opposition, that he intends in any case to take action to test the feeling of the House in regard to the Government's position; I had hope, and still hope, that the debate generally as to the position of -the Government will hinge on that motion rather than on the one now before the House.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Prime Minister' invited discussion by making a long speech on the policy of the Government.

Mr WATSON - If I had not made a long speech, probably my honorable friends of the Opposition would say that I had not been sufficiently explicit. I am not complaining of the genera] debate, except that, if we are to have a motion to test the feeling of the House, it would be wiser to have the debate on that motion.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Prime Minister's own supporters have done a large part of the speaking.

Mr WATSON - I admit that some members on the Government side have spoken ; but I think it would, be wise, on the whole, if honorable members restrained themselves in view of the motion which is coming on. I trust that, so far as the present motion is concerned, we shall find ourselves able to dispose of it at to-morrow's sitting.'

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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