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Thursday, 13 October 1904

Mr KENNEDY (Moira) - If the me'a sure to which reference has been made is to be regarded as non-contentious, it has certainly given very early evidence of being quite the reverse, more particularly in view of the remark macle by the leader of the Opposition. That honorable member said that there would perhaps be a considerable difference in the result.

Mr Watson - What I said was that the change would not help the measure.

Mr KENNEDY - When it is suggested that there will be a difference in the result arrived at in consequence of the choice of the person to introduce a measure, more particularly when it is of a non-contentious character, there is, I think, evidence that some party feeling is going to be displayed.

Mr McDonald - I hope there mav be.

Mr KENNEDY - I am no apologist for- the action of the Prime Minister, and, In any case, two wrongs do not make a right. If the Prime Minister has made a mistake in his selection of the gentleman to submit this Bill, there is no reason why the leader of the Opposition should suggest that that selection may have some materia! result on the fate of the measure.

Mr Watson - The honorable member with his experience ought to know that under such circumstances that is always the result.

Mr KENNEDY - So far as I am concerned, that has never been the result.

Mr Thomas - Why should the measurebe taken out of the hands of one honorable member and given into the charge of another.

Mr KENNEDY - I am not aware of the motives actuating the Prime Minister.

Mr Thomas - Surely there ought to be some explanation.

Mr KENNEDY - I incline to the opinion that in a proposal of this sort, admittedly of a non-contentious character, there ought to be some evidence of the spirit of alliance and ' coalition which has been so strong during the ,last few weeks. As to two members taking control, if necessary, we have had a good deal of that on both sides of the House; and whether such a course is right or wrong, is just now immaterial. But I do regret that at this very early stage of. an important measure which we are told will have serious consequences on the people of Australia, feeling should be displayed on account- of the individual who will introduce it to the House. It is a measure to which I am anxiously desirous to give assistance as far as possible, and I trust that an honest effort will be made to suppress any friction. Knowing the honorable member for Hume as I do, I feel sure that if any sacrifice is to be made, he will be prepared to suppress his individual rights in the matter; and I ask the honorable member for Eden-Monaro to do the same if necessary. It is regrettable that we should have so much party feeling displayed on a measure of the sort. It is evident to the casual onlooker that differences of opinion on some principle or other, are flung in the teeth of honorable members, who, on some issues on which they are agreed, join with other honorable members. We are told that we are renegade to our convictions, and to our' duties as representatives, because, while differing on some vital principle, we join with some honorable members in carrying out other principles upon which we are mutually agreed. It is to be deplored that this feeling should be fostered in this or any other Chamber.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The measure ought to be introduced by the honorable and learned member for Adelaide.

Mr KENNEDY - That may be so; but I think that the personality of the honorable member who may introduce a measure, should not be permitted to inflict any injury on the prospects or welfare of the people of the Commonwealth.

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