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Thursday, 15 September 1904

Mr SPEAKER - The honorable and learned member cannot anticipate discussion upon a notice of motion which appears upon the business paper.

Mr CROUCH - It is not a notice of motion, but a question.

Mr SPEAKER - The honorable and learnedmember cannot anticipate that.

Mr CROUCH - I am very sorry that the Minister has found it necessary to repeatedly postpone answers to certain questions. I understand that it is the policy of the Government to treat its protectionist minority fairly. That was what was alleged when the present Administration was formed.

Mr Reid - We shall have enough of this sort of talk next week. What is the use of firing a squib?

Mr CROUCH - The Prime Minister evidently prepared his manifesto in a jocular spirit. When I say that I understand the Prime Minister has made a bargain with his protectionist minority, he immediately goes into convulsions of humour. It is just as well that the Government's protectionist minority should see the fun of the position, and recognise how humorous is the suggestion that the Prime Minister would keep any promise made by him in this respect. In view of the development likely to take place next week, I should like the Prime Minister to say, before the House adjourns, whether it is his intention to see that in the administration of the Departments local employment

Mr SPEAKER - Order ! The honorable and learned member is attempting, by a side wind, to evade the instruction which I gave him a few moments ago. He must not directly or indirectly anticipate business which is on the noticepaper.

Mr CROUCH - I do not know that I am seeking to obtain any information by a side wind. I make that statement in all seriousness.

Mr SPEAKER - The honorable and learned member must either submit to the direction of the Chair, or I must call on some other honorable member. He cannot set the Standing Orders at defiance.

Mr CROUCH - Very well, sir. It seems that I am not to be allowed to say anything on this subject. I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether he regards as a joke the statement which I made - that he promised to endeavour to keep faith with his protectionist minority.

Mr Reid - No.

Mr CROUCH - I also wish to know whether he intends to carry out the proposals contained in his manifesto to the people of Australia that he would see that the legislation already passed by a former protectionist Ministry remained in force, and that the Government would continue to administer the Departments on the lines adopted by their predecessors.

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