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Friday, 3 June 1904

Mr FRAZER (Kalgoorlie) - The debate to which we have listened during the last few days has done much to demonstrate to the Committee at least one reason why the late Prime Minister should have been anxious to relinquish the duties of his office. In the course of a speech one honorable member of the late Government disclaimed responsibility for the provisions in the Bill as framed by his Ministry, while another honorable member of it has, by way of interjection, also disclaimed all responsibility. We have likewise heard three honorable' members who supported the late Administration speak in opposition to this .provision, and it appears to me that, in view of this dissension in the ranks of their supporters, the late Prime Minister must have recognised that the only course open to him was to hand over the reins of government to another party. An attitude which is little short of remarkable has been taken up by certain honorable members opposite. We heard them on Wednesday last accusing the Government of not being prepared to bring within the scope of the Bill those to whom it should legitimately be extended, while to-day a number of them assert that .we are going too far, and are seeking to extend it to many to whom it should not apply.

Mr Wilson - I rise to a point of order. Is the honorable member for Hindmarsh in order in reading a newspaper, whilst another honorable member is addressing the Committee ?

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