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Thursday, 7 July 1904

Mr HUGHES (West Sydney) (Minister of External Affairs) . - I quite agree with what has been said, by honorable members, but I would point out that such a great deal has' been left unsaid that the case has not been fairly presented. In the first place, the Prime Minister is unwell, and, speaking for myself, I am not very much better. When the honorable member for Kennedy and the honorable member for Moira declare that clauses, have been passed without due consideration-, I would remind them that, the consideration given to one clause extended over a fortnight. We have exhausted the. whole gamut of possibilities in connexion with that provision, so that scarcely anything remains to be said in reference to other clauses for some time. In a House which contains such a multiplicity of parties, I think that we ought to do what we can to facilitate business. I agree that if we intend to- sit four days a week, we. might as well adhere to the arrangement, so that we may speedily complete the business of the session. Personally, I have been absent from home for some five or six weeks. I trust that we shall always be able to- pass- twenty-six clauses in a quarter of an hour. If so, we shall do well, irrespective of 'whether we sit one day or four days weekly. I would, further point out that if a single honorable member of the Opposition had chosen to make a speech this evening, we could not have passed more than one clause.. Personally, I am prepared to proceed with the Bill until a reasonable hour this evening. The temper of the House, however, is such that though every honorable member has been free to discuss these clauses, not one has availed himself of the opportunity to do so. I shall lay before' the Prime Minister the representations which have been made, and possibly a similar arrangement will not be arrived- at in future without notification being given to all parties in this House.

Question resolved in- the affirmative;.

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