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Friday, 4 November 1904

Mr MALONEY (Melbourne) - I intend to vote for the Government, because I think that public business should not be hindered. The matter, however, is one which requires ventilation. I think, in the first place, that the manner in which attention is called to the state of the House is a bad one, and that the public would prefer that an officer should draw your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the state of the House than that a Member of Parliament should commit a seeming discourtesy in doing so. The GovernorGeneral on Wednesday night had invited certain honorable members to Government House, and their absence in part accounted for the count-out. I myself, finding that a division was unlikely, was absent for about an hour with some other honorable members, and was equally responsible for what happened. I returned here when the doors of the chamber had been closed. Had I been in the building, I should have been in my place on the ringing of the bell. A member of the Ministry made an interjection while another honorable member was speaking-

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I was alluding to what was said by the honorable member for Barrier.

Mr MALONEY - Then I leave him to speak for himself. I was under the impression that no one who was absent from the. division could afterwards enter the Chamber. In Switzerland they have a very easy method of preventing counts-out by fining members, whose names are absent from the division lists, and though the quorum there is a. majority of the House, counts-out never occur. When the Government get into recess, they will do well to consider whether, in the present evenly divided state of parties,, which leads only to the harrying of one party by the other, it would not be wise to provide for the election of Ministers, or for some other means to secure continuity of administration.

Sir George Turner - I am certainly coming to the view that we shall have to make a change. The public will not stand the present state of things much longer.

Mr MALONEY - The people do not know why seventy-five members cannot do the work which they are sent here to perform. During the fourteen years that I was in political life in the Victorian Parliament, I was never asked for my vote, because the planks of my platform were known, -and Governments were aware that my support could always be obtained to democratic measures. Any Government bringing in measures which I support will be able to command my vote. I hope that some advantage will flow from the discussion which has taken place, and that the public will recognise the absurdity of carrying on a. Government which has such a slender; majority.

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