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Thursday, 16 November 1911

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - In view of the petition which was presented to the Senate this afternoon by Senator Barker, I would ask the Minister whether he is prepared to reconsider this clause, and whether he noticed in this morning's newspapers a paragraph which suggested that the Minister of Home Affairs had promised to submit it to his colleagues for reconsideration, with a view to modifying it so as to meet the objections of the Jewish community ? When we are dealing with matters of conscience, we ought to proceed very warily. Whatever advantages may result to a large section of the electors from setting apart Saturday as polling day will be largely outweighed when we reflect that, in order to confer a temporary convenience upon its members, who can vote equally well, so far as considerations of conscience are concerned, upon any other day, we impose a disability upon another section of the electors. If the Minister is not prepared to agree to the course which I have suggested, will he consent to postpone the provision until he has had an opportunity of ascertaining whether the deputation which recently waited on the Minister of Home Affairs has had the effect of modifying the opinion of his colleagues on this matter?

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