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Friday, 17 August 1906

Senator STEWART (Queensland) . - I move -

That the words " unless otherwise ordered," line 1, be left out.

The intention of my amendment is to make compulsory the holding of four sittings per week. I believe that it is absolutely necessary, if the business of this Parliament is to be done, that we should sit as often as the other House. I was extremely surprised to hear Senator Neild's remarks with reference to private business. There is no member of the Senate who monopolizes so much of the business-paper as he does. I "have now come to the deliberate conclusion that he has merely been guided by advertising motives. But there are some honorable senators who are anxious to pass Bills and take in hand matters which the Government has refused to deal with. Why should any obstruction be placed in their path? It appears to me that the attitude of Senator Neild and other honorable senators in this respect is not only belittling to themselves, but to the Senate. We ought not to hand over our responsibilities to a select section of members of this Parliament. We are responsible to the public, and, if we believe that certain measures are necessary in the public interest, it is our duty to bring them forward. If we do not sit four days a week, the Government will at the first opportunity snip away the whole of the time allotted for private business. There is a vast amount of business to be done before the session closes. Senator Playford has enumerated a number of measures, ini addito which, I suppose, we shall have the Tariff amendments before us soon. Of course, I am aware that a number of senators go home to New South Wales and South Australia every week-end, and probably only the most insignificant members will be left to do the work on Tuesdays. The big guns will not come alonguntil Wednesday. But they should not on that account prevent the little pistols from being fired off.

Senator Fraser - The honorable senator should not be so modest.

Senator STEWART - I think that I ought to be modest in the presence of such great luminaries. I feel very modest, anyhow. If our friends will only give us the opportunity to sit four days a week, I shall be extremely grateful.

The PRESIDENT - Is the amendment seconded? There being no seconder, the amendment falls to the ground.

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