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Thursday, 20 October 1904

Mr KELLY (Wentworth) - I should like to know whether the 'honorable member for Boothby is prepared to consent to the adjournment of the debate.

Mr Wilks - Not yet.

Mr KELLY - Then I shall offer only a few remarks. I presume, Mr. Speaker, that I have, by rising now, prejudiced my right to speak on this motion at a later stage ?

Mr SPEAKER - I am afraid that the honorable member has begun his speech.

Mr KELLY - In view of the fact that this motion has emanated from the honorable member for Boothby, we may be quite sure that it is the desire of those who support his request that the inquiry for which he asks shall be as fair and open as possible. We all know that the Prime Minister will be charged with the appointment of the Commission, and that both he and those honorable members who mainly wish to see an inquiry held, having put forward the honorable member for Boothby to move this motion, are actuated only by a keen desire to get at the facts. Honorable members opposite do not wish to nationalize the industry if any other means, more profitable to the people of Australia, can be devised. So much information was given by the honorable member for Boothby that I cannot at present deal with all the phases of his speech. I very much regret that " I was engaged on another task during portion of the time occupied by him in placing his views before the House, and that consequently I was unable to follow him with that degree of attention necessary to enable me to do him anything like justice in replying1 to his arguments. I thought that the honorable member would perhaps have no objection to the adjournment of the debate; but I find that other honorable members are now prepared to carry on the discussion - a fact that certainly was not evident when I rose. I think, therefore, that I can safely leave the matter in their hands. They will be in quite as good a position as I am to carry on the debate. The question must, of course, be fully discussed before the House is asked to authorize the considerable expenditure involved in the appointment of a Royal Commission. I hope that other Honorable members will be prepared to take up the cudgels of economy, and to urge that a Royal Commission should be appointed only when good cause is shown. I sincerely hope that if the Commission be appointed it will be only after strong proof has been adduced that it is necessary that the State should incur this expense, and that it will be such an impartial body as I am sure the honorable member for Boothby would desire.

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