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Wednesday, 19 September 1906

Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales) - - I desire briefly to refer to an incident of the debate this morning. The Bill has been sufficiently discussed, and I 0can see no object in continuing to discuss it further ; but I understand that Senator Neild this morning commented very severely on a step I had taken with regard to a pair.

Senator Col Neild - I did not mention the honorable senator.

Senator PULSFORD - I believe the honorable senator did not mention me by name, but the remarks he made are 'probably more worthy of condemnation on that account. I wish to direct the attention of the Senate to the facts connected with the " matter to which he referred. About the middle of August, Senator Neild was going away, it was understood for three weeks, and he asked me to pair with him on this Bill. I agreed to do so. When the three weeks had elapsed, and the honorable senator had not returned to the Senate, Senator Gray was ill, and in Sydney, and he wrote a letter to me, which I have in my pocket at the present time, asking me to arrange a pair for him. This was two days before- the vote on the Bill was taken, and I entered a pair in the book with Senator Gray on one side and Senator Neild on the other. I understand that Senator Neild takes the view that I was not justified in that, that in doing what I did I was guilty to some extent of trickery, and was the means of carrying, on a division, the second reading of the Bill bv trickery. I beg to deny the imputation altogether. The course I "adopted was tine regular and authorized course.

Senator Col Neild - No.

Senator PULSFORD - Senator Neild made no arrangement with me that the pair was to stand with me alone. The honorable senator was duly paired, his vote was accounted for, and I concluded that that was all he needed. It appears, if we may judge from what has now transpired, that Senator Neild was at least willing that Senator Gray, one of his colleagues from New South Wales, should be euchred out of - his rights. I submit that the course I adopted was justified, right, and honorable, and in accordance with all the usages of Parliament, and consequently that the remarks made about me in mv absence, this morning ought not to have been made.

Senator Col. NEILD'(New South Wales) [2.34]. - I wish to make a personal explanation.

The PRESIDENT - Has the honorable senator been misrepresented?

Senator Col NEILD - I have been misrepresented, inasmuch as the pair made by me with Senator Pulsford was made without any limitation of time. That will be seen from an inspection of the pair book.

The PRESIDENT - That, I think, is scarcely a personal explanation. In what way has the honorable senator been misrepresented ?

Senator Col NEILD - By the statement made that the pair to which I refer was made for three weeks. I say that the inspection of the pair book will show that it was made without any limitation whatever.

Senator Pulsford - I did not say that it was made merely for three weeks.

Senator Col NEILD - I am also accused of endeavouring to euchre a colleague out of a pair. I wish to say that I should never have left the Senate under any circumstances unless I had been able to obtain a live pair. I had a live pair with Senator Pulsford. Unknown to myself, and contrary to all parliamentary usage, my pair with Senator Pulsford was transferred to a pair with Senator Gray, which was not a live pair.

Senator Pulsford - It was.

Senator Col NEILD - Senator Gray was not here and could not be here.

The PRESIDENT - Is not the honorable senator now discussing the whole question instead of making a personal explanation?

Senator Col NEILD - I have no wish to make any very lengthy remarks, But I am sure that the Senate and you, sir, will permit me to say that it has been a matter of pride to me that honorable senators comprising the delegation from New South Wales have always worked heartily together, and it has been a matter of profound pain to me that this incident has arisen. I may be permitted to add that in the brief . reference I made to the matter this morning, I made no imputation, but merely referred to the incident as a ground for supporting the proposal that the Bill should be recommitted. I very greatly regret the incident.

Senator Pulsford - The honorable senator has reason to do so.

Senator Col NEILD - I have; and I very much regret that my colleague Senator Pulsford should have acted the part he did.

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