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Friday, 3 November 1905

Senator STEWART (Queensland) -I do not see any reason why the Senate should not sit on Tuesday next. I observe that another place intends to sit on that day. Really we have not made very much progress with business this week.

Senator Playford - Look at the noticepaper for to-day ! It will be pretty well cleared by the end of the sitting.

Senator STEWART - Probably the most important portion of our work has yet to come, and that is the consideration of the Estimates. If it is the general desire of honorable senators to close the session towards the end of November, there will be very little time for. the consideration of the Estimates. We shall have a repetition of what has taken place every year. The Estimates will be passed in the last days of the session without receiving any decent scrutiny.

Senator Higgs - If the honorable senator had come here in June we might have been very much further advanced than we are.

Senator STEWART - I came here as soon as there was anything to do; in fact, I am not sure that I did not come too soon, because, even after my arrival, we were only marking time. I have always been here when there has been any real business to be done. The only occasion on which I have been absent has been when on a change of Government, the Senate has been adjourning week after week without doing any business, and when nobody has known when it was or was not to sit. Under such circumstances I came to the conclusion that f would be very much better off where I was than here, and I still think that I was correct.

Senator Walker - The honorable senator believes in coming late and going early.

Senator STEWART - I come late, and do some work when I am here. I do not wish to refer to the practice of the senators for New South Wales in running away to Sydney every week-end. For what reason are we asked to adjourn over Tuesday? Because a horse race is to be run.

Senator O'KEEFE (TASMANIA) - Because it is a general public holiday in Victoria.

Senator STEWART - It is nothing of the kind.

Senator O'Keefe - This assumption of virtuous indignation is very thin.

Senator STEWART - If the honorable senator wishes to witness a horse race on Tuesday, I have no objection, and any other honorable senators who care to go also have my permission if it is desired. But why should I be compelled to roam about idle, simply because my honorable friend wishes to attend a horse race?

Senator Mulcahy - The honorable senator can go to a prayer meeting if he likes.

Senator STEWART - I did not come to Melbourne to attend either prayer meetings or horse races, but to attend to the business of the country. Towards the end of a session time is more precious than at any other period. We cannot afford to waste time now, and I do not see why we should follow the bad example which has been set by the British Parliament of adjourning over a particular day.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - But it does not do that now, I think.

Senator STEWART - In my time it did. I am much obliged to the honorable and learned senator for the correction, and that is another argument why the Senate should do business on Tuesday. There is no doubt that a certain section of the elec tors object to Parliament abandoning its important work for the mere purpose of going to see a number of horses compete with each other in speed. I have to incur all the odium of favouring an adjournment of business for that purpose, when I have no intention of going to see the horse races. I think I am within the mark when I saythat 75 per cent, of the senators will not go to Flemington on Tuesday. If they will not go there, why should they not come here, and do the business of the country? I suppose that a number of senators for New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania will vote for an adjournment simply because they wish to get home, and will not require to be back before Wednesday. That will influence their decision.

Senator Mulcahy - There is not a single Tasmanian senator going home.

Senator STEWART - I am not so very sure about that.

Senator O'Keefe - There is only one out of the six going home.

Senator STEWART.If they are not going home we ought to get to work on Tuesday-

Senator Walker - I am afraid that the honorable senator is wasting time.

Senator STEWART - I am losing five minutes now- for the purpose of saving a whole day next week. I shall vote against the motion, because it is unnecessary and unwise, and if carried will limit our opportunities of doing useful work during the remainder of the session.

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