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Friday, 4 November 1904

Mr HUTCHISON (Hindmarsh) - As one who believes that it is the duty of every honorable member to facilitate the transaction of public business, I have assisted more than once, and shall do so again, to keep a House. But occasions arise when it is necessary to enter a protest, and I think that the honorable member for Barrier, and those who support him, are quite justified in protesting as they have done. On Wednesday night I was in indifferent health, but remained in the House until within two minutes of the count-out. I went away then only because I was very unwell. A Government with so precarious a majority as have the present Administration, ought really to demand more from their own followers than they appear to expect from honorable members of the Opposition. I do not think that honorable members should deliberately walk out of the Chamber when the Estimates are under discussion, but they are entitled to do so when they find that Government supporters care less for the business of the country than thev do for their own private affairs. In such a state of things we find justification for the position taken up by the honorable member for Barrier.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Most of those who were absent were accepting the hospitality of the Governor-General.

Mr HUTCHISON - I object to keeping a House for a Government whose supporters are away accepting the hospitality of the Governor-General, who, I am sure, does not expect us to figure as his guests to the detriment of the business of the country. Although I am willing to assist the Government in the transaction of business, I shall not promise to assist to keep a House if they cannot get their own followers to take part in the sittings in sufficient numbers. If we, on this side, receive fair play, the Prime Minister may rely upon getting similar treatment from us, but not otherwise.

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