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Friday, 29 July 1904

Mr BATCHELOR (Boothby) (Minister of Home Affairs) . - The Government do not ask the Committee to come to a division to-day, but as we have not yet reached the ordinary adjournment hour, so long as honorable members are prepared to speak up to 4 o'clock, we shall be glad if they will express their views. It seems to me that the simplest and best method of ascertaining the opinion of the House would be to continue the discussion on the motion that the clause bs agreed to. When the debate has exhausted itself, progress will be reported, and on the following day we shall take a ballot in the House. If we were to adopt the course mentioned by the honorable member for North Sydney, and to strike out the words after "be" in the second line of the clause, it would be impossible afterwards to re-insert the words if it were desired to do so. Therefore, we do not propose to strike them out. So long as honorable members are prepared to continue the discussion upon the sites they will be allowed to do so. But (here will be no actual division in Committee upon the clause. The decision will be postponed until a-ballot has taken place in the House. When a decision is arrived at, discussion will be resumed in Committee, and the site determined upon by ballot will be inserted.

Sir William Lyne - Do the Government propose to postpone the clause now ?

Mr BATCHELOR - No. If no honorable member desires to continue the discussion, progress will be reported.

Mr Brown - We should understand that reporting progress does not mean the closing of the debate.

Mr BATCHELOR - We do not suggest closing the debate to-day.

Progress reported.

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