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Friday, 4 November 1904


Mr TUDOR (Yarra) - It has been stated that when I was Government whip I used to ask members of the Opposition to help to form a quorum. As Opposition whip I always ask members of my own party to help to form a quorum for the present Government. Last Wednesday night I paired with the Prime Minister, but I broke my pair in order to try to prevent a count-out. I shall vote for the motion of the Treasurer, in order to facilitate the transaction of public business; but I am surprised at the statements of honorable members opposite that their party would never be guilty of such tactics as counting the House out. When the Arbitration Bill was under consideration, and the honorable and learned member for Corio was opposing some proposal of the Government, he asked the honorable member for Bland to consent to an adjournment. The Prime Minister replied that it was rather too early. The honorable member for Wentworth then approached the honorable and learned member, and said, "You move to report progress." I ascertained that there were just enough members of our party present to form a quorum, and the Prime Minister presently consented to an adjournment. There was a quorum present, although the honorable member for Wentworth has stated that more than two-thirds of the House were away.


Mr Kelly - I stayed many times to keep a quorum for the last Government.


Mr TUDOR - On one occasion during the period when the Prime Minister sat on this side of the Chamber, and when the Barton Government were in office, a quorum was rung for twenty times in one sitting in an endeavour to count out the House.


Mr Reid - I was not here.


Mr TUDOR - It was not the only occasion when the right honorable member was absent. The Postmaster-General has stated that on one occasion the last Government put through twenty-six clauses of the Arbitration Bill when no quorum was present. That is absolutely a mis-statement. There was a quorum present all the time. The honorable member for Kennedy objected to an adjournment, and I went through the building and found out that, although there was not a quorum present in the Chamber, there was a quorum within its precincts. I am willing to help the Government in these matters, but they must be prepared to do their share. I agree with the honorable member for Hindmarsh, that they should not expect us to do more than that.







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