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Friday, 22 June 1906

Senator HIGGS (Queensland) .- We have been told by Senator1 Millen that he is as ready as is any honorable senator to maintain the rights of the Senate, but if he wishes to maintain its dignity he ought not to be so ready to vote for special adjournments.

Senator Givens - The honorable senator voted for special adjournments last session as readily as did any one.

Senator HIGGS - I do not remember the occasion.

Senator Staniforth Smith - As a matter of fact, the honorable senator voted with me against such adjournments.

Senator HIGGS - The representatives of the Government in the Senate do not take up as strong a position as the representatives of other Governments have done. Both Ministers appear to be quite willing that the Senate shall be merely a House of revision.

Senator Playford - No.

Senator HIGGS - So far the Bills introduced this session have been purely machinery measures.

Senator Playford - No.

Senator HIGGS - The Minister, in introducing them, told us that they contained little debatable matter. There are other measures on the notice-paper of the House of Representatives which might well have been introduced here.

Senator Playford - They are Money Bills.

Senator HIGGS - If we lose our prestige, it will be due to the readiness with which we have agreed to lengthy adjournments. Senator Millen was wrong in attacking Senator Smith as he did. Because that honorable senator happens to carry on his studies here surely he is not to be accused of something which might convey a very wrong impression to the public. When Parliament is not sitting this building has none of the comforts of a club. In such circumstances it is the most cheerless and dismal place one could enter. I sympathize with the desire of Senator Givens to return to Cairns, but I would point out that the journey to and fro would occupy sixteen out of the twenty-one days that would be available in the event of a three weeks' adjournment. I also sympathize with the representatives of Western Australia. As for myself, I shall be employed fully as a member of the Tariff Commission. In one respect the suggested adjournment would be advantageous to the Commission, since it would enable it to secure the services of the Hansard staff, and thereby save expense. I hope that those who support the amendment do not propose to follow the example of a certain honorable senator from New South Wales, who, it is reported', intends to avail himself of the opportunity to visit Queensland to prepare the way for Mr. Reid's electioneering tour.

The PRESIDENT - Does the honorable senator think that is relevant to the motion ?

Senator HIGGS - I simply refer to it as constituting a possible objection to an adjournment over three weeks. I can assure the honorable senator that if he does go to Queensland the history of the AtmosphericGas Company will be fully disclosed. I shall vote against a special adjournment, and, in any event, I shall vote against the amendment, because I think it is an unwise one.

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