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Friday, 31 August 1906

Senator O'KEEFE (Tasmania) . - - The chief argument adduced by the Minister in moving the second reading of this Bill has not been answered by Senator Millen and Senator Drake in their interesting speeches. I take it that Ministers have brought in the Bill to insure that the elections shall be held in March, which month is more suitable to the majority of the people than December.

Senator Drake - The Bill will not insure that.

Senator O'KEEFE - Of Of course it is impossible absolutely to insure that the election shall be held in any particular month. We cannot insure that the elections for the House of Representatives and the Senate will be held simultaneously. A penal dissolution would spoil that arrangement. But the Bill appeals to me in this way. We are now within a few weeks of the end of the session. The general elections are to be held at the end of November or in December. Three years ago the same thing happened, and we had the spectacle, as we have it now, of a number of members of both Houses, not dealing with the business of Parliament as they otherwise would do, being anxious to rush away to their constituencies. Members naturally are not giving measures that due consideration which they would give to them if the elections were to be held some two or three months after Christmas, and if there were not this hurry to get away. We are perfectly well aware that in both Houses at the present moment, but particularly in another place, there is a desire on the part of members to meet their constituents.

Senator Clemons - Is this a Bill to promote the convenience of members present?

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