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Wednesday, 9 November 1904

Mr HUTCHISON (Hindmarsh) - On two or three occasions, when the noconfidence debate was proceeding, I stated that I was willing to sit later if other honorable members would do so, to get on with business, but honorable members opposite then objected that it would be unreasonable to sit after 11 o'clock. We have done good work to-night, and I think it would be wise to adjourn now, so that we may come fresh to the consideration of this division to-morrow.

Mr McLEAN - If there is any one Department whose Estimates are not contentious it is the Department of Trade and Customs.

Mr Brown - These are the most contentious of all the Estimates.

Mr McLEAN - I would be glad to know why? We have a splendid man at the head of the Customs Department, and, although the sub-department of the Patents Office was created towards the end of last year, and a statistical branch has been established, the expenditure of the Department, as a whole,has been reduced to the lowest amount compatible with efficiency, so that the sum asked for is £13,526 less than was voted last year. I admit, however, that the establishment of the statistical branch will effect a considerable saving, inasmuch as work which was formerly done in the States will now be done at the central office. I shall be very glad to give any information desired, but honorable members opposite are as responsible as we are for the progress of business. I am willing to postpone any contentious proposal, but I think that the rest of the Department should be passed to-night. The leader of the Opposition has, I believe, been through these Estimates, and I am sure that He will admit that there is nothing in them that can reasonably beobjected to.

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