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Thursday, 15 September 1904

Mr CARPENTER (Fremantle) - I did not know that the Prime Minister was about to close the debate, but I think he will recognise that I am entitled to complete my remarks on the subject which I brought forward on the motion for special adjournment, but which, under the Standing Orders, I was unable to discuss. I was pointing out that just prior to the division which took place last night on the motion for an appropriation in connexion with the preliminary survey for the Transcontinental Railway, I suggested to the right honorable member for Swan that if the Bill relating to that matter were ready, the House would probably agree, as honorable members appeared to be so unanimously in favour of the motion, to pass it through all its stages that night.

Sir John Forrest - That is so.

Mr CARPENTER - The right honorable member consulted the Minister in charge of the Bill-

Sir John Forrest - As well as some other honorable members on this side of the House.

Mr CARPENTER - Quite so. He consulted them in order to learn whether they would agree to the adoption of the course which I suggested.

Sir John Forrest - They said they would not.

Mr CARPENTER - A distinct threat was made by the honorable member for Moira that if the House were asked to pass the Bill through all its stages that evening we might expect a debate extending over at least two days. He threatened that he would read various reports, and do his best to obstruct the passage of the Bill. After consultation, I and some of my fellow representatives of Western Australia this morning saw the leader of the Opposition, and inquired whether, notwithstanding this threat, it was not worth while making another attempt to persuade honorable members opposite to allow the Bill to pass through all its stages this afternoon, and to postpone the notice of motion of want of confidence until to-morrow. The leader of the Opposition at once' said that if he could persuade Government supporters to adopt that course he would willingly postpone his notice of motion. 8 a 2

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Postmaster-General) - What about the' honorable member's leader,- the honorable and learned member for Indi?

Mr CARPENTER - I am speaking of what happened.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Postmaster-General) - But why does the honorable member endeavour to throw all the blame on Government supporters ? What about his own leader, the honorable and learned member for Indi?

Mr Robinson - He is not a leader, but a. sub-leader - a paragraph.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - He will prove, a rather awkward "paragraph" for honorable members opposite.

Mr SPEAKER - Order ! The honorable member for Fremantle is addressing the House, and I must ask honorable members to give him an opportunity to conclude his remarks. These loud interjections across the chamber, and the conversations which are taking place in a loud voice, render it almost impossible for the honorable member to proceed.

Mr CARPENTER - I was simply relating what took place this morning outside the chamber. The leader of the Opposition assured us that he would do his best to persuade Government supporters to agree to the passing of the Bill this evening, and that if that arrangement could be made, the notice of motion to which I have referred would be postponed until tomorrow.


Mr CARPENTER - I do not know how many the honorable member interviewed, but he subsequently informed me that he found it impossible to induce the supporters of the Government to agree to the passing of the Bill to-day.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - He did not see any one on this side of the House.

Mr CARPENTER - It would have been useless for him to interview the honorable member for Parramatta. I make this statement to show that the charge which has been levelled against members of the Labour Party and of the Opposition generally, that they are obstructing the passing of the Bill in question, is without foundation.

Sir John Forrest - Why all this unreasonable hurry to press a motion of want of confidence?

Mr CARPENTER - We have done our utmost, both in the House and outside' of it, to facilitate the passing of the Bill. The reason that it is not being discussed and dealt with to-day is that honorable members sitting behind the Government refuse to allow that course to be followed.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Postmaster-General) - In view of what we have done that is a very unfair statement for the honorable member to make.

Mr Mahon - It is perfectly correct.

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