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Wednesday, 15 November 1905

Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia) - I should not have spoken .but for the constant reference to the cabs 'which were provided for honorable senators last night. I candidly say that I availed myself of one of the cabs to take me home, but I may add that it was not until the Senate had risen, and I was leaving Parliament House, that I was informed that the Government had made any provision of the kind. I wish it to be clearly understood that there was no bargain or arrangement in this connexion between the Government and honorable senators. I understand that on similar occasions, in another place, cabs are provided for honorable members, and the fact has ceased to have any novelty. I am sorry to say that there are honorable senators on both sides, whose sense of good taste does not prevent them from making repeated references to a matter so trifling.

Senator Mulcahy - There is a sense of fair play, which is. better than a sense of good taste.

Senator DE LARGIE - I am merely saying that I expected something better from the honorable senators to whom I refer. If the Opposition think that they can play fast and loose with the convenience of honorable senators on this side they are very much mistaken ; we are not docile and tame enough to " lie down " under treatment of the kind.

Senator Drake - Honorable senators, opposite will not again be able to get rid of the Opposition in the same way.

Senator DE LARGIE -The members of the Opposition did as they pleased when they left the chamber.

Senator Drake - I am referring to members of the Opposition who paired on the strength of the promise of the Minister.

Senator DE LARGIE - I noticed that honorable senators opposite were extremely anxious for pairs, for what reason I know not. It may have been with the object of reducing the number of honorable senator.", present, so as to secure a count-out; but if that were the motive I am glad it was defeated. I ask New South Wales senators particularly whether they would not feel aggrieved if, on Friday afternoons, when they wish to catch their train, they were kept here by the action of Government supporters.

Senator Gray - Are there no Adelaide senators who travel on Fridays?

Senator DE LARGIE - My question applies to senators from both South Australia and New South Wales.

Senator Gray - The Senate meets early on Friday with the understanding that it s-hall adjourn at 4 o'clock.

Senator DE LARGIE - There is also an understanding, that the business on other days shall be concluded in time for honorable senators to catch their trains before midnight. The usual hour for adjournment is 10 or half-past 10 o'clock, and when discussion is continued beyond that hour honorable senators are put to considerable inconvenience. The majority of the honorable senators who pursued obstructive tactics, live within a short distance of Parliament House, and they seemed to be careless of the fact that other honorable senators would have to "reach their homes in the suburbs as best they could. Under the circumstances, it ill becomes, those honorable senators to sneer at the Government for providing conveyances. In the light of what has occurred in another place, and also in the light of our own experience of yesterday, the Government would, in my opinion, have been extremely unwise if they had not, in the interest of business, concluded the consideration of the Commerce Bill in Committee last night.

Senator PULSFORD(New South Wales). - The apologists of the Government have had a hard task, and I do not think they have been quite so successful as they were in the movement which they carried out last night. Some honorable senators have dealt with matters which have only tended to obscure what otherwise is perfectly plain. It is clear that on Friday last the leader of this Chamber made a distinct statement, which covered the conduct of business up to Thursday ; and it is equally clear that last night he repeated the statement to Senator Best, with' whom he made certain arrangements.

Senator Playford - I had no arrangement at all with Senator Best, but begged him to stop, and' not to pair under any circumstances. I told him the chances were that we should have an all-night sitting, and it was not until that idea, got about, that the Opposition collapsed, and allowed the last two or three clauses in the part with which we are dealing to pass.

Senator PULSFORD - What the Minister now says does not affect the statement

I have made. The Minister did undoubtedly repeat to Senator Best the statement he made on Friday last, and no doubt Senator Best went away with the distinct impression that he would have an opportunity to-day to deal with amendments he desired to submit. I also went away with a similar impression ; and there can be no question that the Minister made up his mind to depart from the arrangement, and, using the opportunity presented, piloted the Bill through. I feel I have been perfectly justified in submitting this matter for discussion, and I am content to leave the question to the country. I beg leave to withdraw the motion.

Senator Guthrie - I object.

Question resolved in the negative.

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