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Friday, 4 November 1904

Mr KELLY (Wentworth) - My sole ob- 1ject in rising is to make a few remarks by way of explanation in connexion with the statement made by the honorable member for Yarra. He accused me, by inference, of adopting the same tactics that were resorted to by some honorable members on Wednesday evening, when they had the House counted out, although only routine business was under discussion- I was told that I had harassed the late Government by similar methods. I find that on, the occasion which I think the honorable member referred to, the House sat until half -past eleven. I considered that the Government were seeking by the aid of their majority to force their will upon the House in regard to a matter which should not have been disposed of except after the fullest discussion. The honorable and learned member for Corio moved that progress be reported, and as far as my memory serves, I think I asked him to take that course. Attention was not drawn to the state of the House. A little later on the honorable and learned member for Corio said -

I understand that the Prime Minister has made some arrangement with the honorable member for North Sydney, and I wish to withdraw my motion.

So that on that occasion nothing unfair was done. .

Mr Page - The honorable member tried to humiliate the Watson Government.

Mr KELLY - There was no question of humiliation ; I was simply endeavouring to prevent the Government rushing business of a most important nature through a thin House.

Mr Page - I saw the honorable member doing it.

Mr KELLY - The honorable member is stating what is absolutely incorrect.

Mr Page - I wish the honorable and learned member for Corio was here.

Mr KELLY - I understand the honorable member to imply a doubt as to the correctness of my statement. I shall be glad if the honorable member will say plainly whether he doubts my word.

Mr Page - I shall do so.

Mr KELLY - I shall be fully prepared at all times, when a Government is attempting to improperly force its will upon a weak Opposition, to take every legitimate step that can be taken to resist it. I shall, if necessary, move that progress be reported in order to secure fair play. But the inference of the honorable member for Yarra was that I had adopted tactics such as those resorted to on Wednesday last, when the business was brought to a .complete standstill owing to the bitterness displayed towards the Government by a few honorable members. I shall never indulge in such tactics.

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