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Thursday, 14 June 1906

Senator BEST (Victoria) .- I beg to second the motion.

Senator MILLEN(New South Wales) [4.16.I. - Like other honorable senators, I have listened with a great deal of pleasure to the address just delivered by Senator Styles, and, whilst he would hardly expect me to indorse the whole of his oration, I must certainly say that I am thoroughly in accord with one or two points that he made. His reference to the Northern Territory is one that I sincerely trust will help to stimulate the Government into action, and induce them to press the matter forward to a business-like conclusion. There are portions of the Governor-General's speech to which I desire to allude, and I shall probably deal with them better, so far as I intend to discuss the speech, by taking the paragraphs in their order of sequence. As I have already indicated, I am unable to deal seriously with if. There are two reasons for this. In the first place, its inordinate length utterly precludes any one from assuming that it has been put forward as a serious businesslike proposition for consideration this session, whilst, in the second place, its carefully designed vague- ness debars one from taking it seriously. 1 interjected a few moments ago that it was impossible to understand the meaning of one of the paragraphs, and the Minister of Defence immediately took credit to the Ministry for the cleverness with which the Speech had been drawn. I do not dispute its cleverness. I admit the extreme skill with which the Government have managed to adapt their phraseology to the circumstancessurrounding them - circumstances rendering it extremely desirable that they should not speak definitely until they have ascertained a little more clearly how matters are going to develop. I should like to direct the attention of the Senate to the remarkable similarity which certain portions of the Governor-General's speech bear to the statement made by the Minister of Defence twelve months ago. Honorable senators will remember that the declaration of the policy of the present Ministry was made, not by means of a speech from the GovernorGeneral, but so far as this Chamber is concerned, by a statement read by the Minister of Defence. In the course of that statement, the honorable senator said that the speech which was placed in the hands of His Excellency sixteen months before - namely, in 1904 - exactly fitted the circumstances of the day on which he was then speaking. That statement might well have been reproduced in the GovernorGeneral's speech that we are now discussing.

Senator McGregor - We have a revised edition.

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