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Wednesday, 15 November 1905

Senator TRENWITH (Victoria) - Senator Turleyhas assumed an altogether mistaken attitude. The Minister, as Ministers frequently do, entered into an understanding with the Opposition; When these understandings are adhered to by both sides they ought to be rigorously observed. The understanding in this case was that an adjournment should be permitted if a certain clause of the Bill was reached during the day.

Senator Gray - How does the honorable senator know ? He was not here.

Senator TRENWITH - I was within the precincts of Parliament House the whole of the day, and I should have been in the chamber but for the fact that discussion was taking place that was utterly profitless. I could not vote on the question, because I had paired for a week with an honorable senator absent through ill-health ; but I was present in the chamber for about two hours, and had to listen to repetition after repetition until the Minister of Defence complained that he had answered one question so often that he was tired of it.

Senator Gray - The Minister has never answered the question vet.

Senator TRENWITH - Senator Grayis referring to another question, although I am under the impression that the Minister answered Senator Gray several times. A promise was made by the Minister, subject to the condition that reasonable progress was made. As a matter of fact, so far from reasonable progress, there was unreasonable obstruction by the Opposition on clause 5 hour after hour ; and clause 10 was' not reached until, for the purposes of honorable senators, Tuesday had expired. That is to say, honorable senators at that hour could not avail themselves of the opportunities they expect to have offered to them to get to their homes on the same day.

Senator Lt Col Gould - But the Government provided cabs.

Senator TRENWITH - I never used a Government cab, and I do not want to.

Senator Guthrie - So far as I am concerned, I had no cab.

The PRESIDENT - I must really ask honorable senators not to interject.

Senator TRENWITH - Nothing is of more importance than that undertakings between the respective sides of the Chamber - undertakings which are often and wisely entered into for convenience - should be observed. If an undertaking of the kind is broken by one side, there is no need for the other side to break it - it is broken already. If the Opposition keep honorable senators here until after midnight, a Minister is justified in offering some compensation to honorable senators who have suffered in consequence of the peculiar form of discussion adopted, and in compelling the Opposition themselves to remain in order to impress their views, if they can.

Senator Gray - The honorable senator was not here then.

Senator TRENWITH - I was within the precincts of Parliament House last night. When the Opposition broke their engagement, the Minister would have been unfaithful to his supporters if he had taken any other course than that he adopted to meet the wishes of the majority.

Senator Lt Col Gould - Clauses 8, 9, and 10 ran through without any discussion.

Senator TRENWITH - And when honorable senators opposite were worn out they desired to adjourn, so that they might come fresh to-day and waste more time. I am glad that the Minister took the stand he did, because if there is fighting it should be on both sides.

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