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Thursday, 24 June 1915

Mr HUGHES (West Sydney) (Attorney-General) . - I move -

That this Bill be now read a second time. The measure has been before the House on two previous occasions, and yesterday I dealt with its provisions at some length. There is no reason why I should now state in greater detail the reasons for its acceptance. The members of the Opposition have chosen to absent themselves from the chamber at a time when we might have expected their counsel and advice, if not their support. I venture to say - and this is the only reference I shall make to the matter - that this is not the way to deal with a great national question. I invited the Opposition yesterday - and I again extend the invitation to them, though they cannot hear my voice, through Hansard - to say in what respects the Government proposals to amend the Constitution fall short of what is desirable. I had hoped for their aid . We might at least have received from the Opposition the courtesy of suggestions and the benefit of advice. But they have chosen to play the second part in that dramatic performance which they inaugurated on Friday last, and which, although it may satisfy them, will deceive no one.

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