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Thursday, 20 October 1904

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN (EdenMonaro) - This is only a storm in a tea-cup; but I hold myself responsible to some extent for the misunderstanding that appears to have occurred. I had hoped that the debate would terminate to-night, but after consultation with the honorable member for Hume, I ascertained that he did not desire to speak this evening. I also found that the honorable member for Kooyong, and several other honorable members, wished to speak to-morrow. As there was no possibility of closing the debate when the hon- orable member for Bourke asked leave to continue his speech to-morrow, and as the Prime Minister 'told me that he left the matter to my own discretion, I said that I would not object to the adjournment. I think that an injustice has been done to the honorable member for Moira by the Prime Minister. . I listened to his speech, and I do not think that he made any threat.

Mr Reid - There was a distinct threat made to me, which no man of spirit would accept quietly.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN - I may be mistaken, but I took it that the honorable member for Moira simply said that he would have to show by his vote what he felt with regard to business. There is no doubt that a number of honorable members desire to bring the business of the session to a conclusion. While we have kept good hours hitherto, there is no reason why we should not sit late at least one night a week in order to expedite business. We ought to make an earnest effort to terminate the session ; and I hope that the Government will accept that expression of opinion as an indication of the feeling of honorable members generally.

Mr Reid - The next complaint will be about overwork, not underwork.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN - Those of us who come from different States feel the need for getting on with business, and if we wish to talk, we must pay the penalty by sitting a little later.

Sir WILLIAMLYNE (Hume).The Prime Minister has stated that in future he intends to go on with the business on the notice-paper, whether honorable members are in their places or not. The right honorable gentleman was not very often in his place during the early part of the session, and would not have taken part in many debates if that rule had been carried into effect by previous Governments. I think it should be understood beforehand, as nearly as possible, what business is to be proceeded with each day.

Mr Reid - Hear, hear. That is reasonable.

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