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Tuesday, 14 June 1904

Mr WATSON - In connexion with that, I reserve to the Government the right to go on with the Seat of Government Bill if there is any necessity for a recommittal of the Arbitration Bill. Generally speaking, however, we intend to push on with the Arbitration Bill first, and to take the other measure next in order. That has . been the attitude of the Government right through, and there is no intention to deviate from it in the slightest degree. As it is rather late, I shall take an opportunity to' reply through the press to some obviously incorrect statements by the leader of the State Opposition in New South Wales with reference to the proposals of the Government regarding the area of the Capital site. I trust that the anxiety exhibited by honorable members of the Opposition this evening to push forward the Seat of Government Bill, will lead them to use all the influence they, possess to prevent the passing of that measure being delayed by the discussion of abstract questions, which, according to the newspapers, are likely to be brought forward during the next week or so. If that anxiety is real, honorable members should assist us to push on with the actual business, and so allow of an early settlement of the Capital sites question.

Mr Conroy - Cannot the Prime Minister fix a date for the consideration of the Seat of. Government Bill?

Mr WATSON - I cannot fix a date, for the reason that we have not arrived at such a stage with the other measure as would allow of that being done. I see no reason to anticipate that we shall finish the Arbitration Bill during this week. Probably we shall not conclude next week. If we could dispose of it during the current week I should be all the more pleased ; but two or three matters of principle, regarding which there is a legitimate difference of opinion, have still to be discussed, and we cannot expect honorable members to forego their right to debate.

Sir William Lyne - Will the Prime Minister give us a week's notice if he possibly can?

Mr WATSON - Yes. That would be a proper thing, and I have already promised to do it. It is tha intention of the Government to push on with the Bill at the first opportunity, and that ' opportunity will be presented when the Arbitration Bill is out of the way.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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