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Friday, 17 November 1911

Senator SAYERS (Queensland) . - I shall take my own lime about that, despite the heroics of the Honorary Minister. 1 have not asked whether I should be at liberty to mention the name of my informant or not, but I have been informed that this proposal was presented to a Minister who was at the head of the Department, and refused. I accept the word of my informant, but until he permits me to mention his name I shall not do so. It is enough to say that 1 believe him. Senator Findley will see that this is simply a question of the statement of two men, and the word of one is as good as the word of the other. I believed the information given me, and I still believe it. We have here nothing but departmental rule, and I ask who is to blame for it? I say it is the Minister who is to blame. We have heard of a member of the present Government who said that he was " only a rubber stamp." We have the rubber stamp still'. Senator Findley made a great furore about my having made a statement which I should withdraw. I shall not withdraw it, because I believe it to be true.

Senator Findley - Let the honorable senator prove his statement, if he will not withdraw it.

Senator SAYERS - Senator Findleyhas made many statements here which he did not prove. He has said that this clause is introduced for a certain purpose, but he has not proved it. When he is asked the reason for it, he lies back and says nothing. I am npt frightened to say what I have said before, because I believe the man who gave me the information.

Senator McColl - Bring the officer to the bar of the Senate and question him.

Senator Barker - That would be more rational.

Senator Millen - Honorable senators opposite did not say that when the last Government were accused of appointing polling places to suit themselves, and I ask' the Minister to prove or withdraw the statement.

Senator SAYERS - No one has made rasher statements in this Chamber than has' Senator Findley. I have seen the honorable senator walking backwards and forwards between the two pillars at the back of the Ministers' bench, and making outrageous statements, which he never at-' tempted to prove. 1 have made a statement because I believe it to be true. I do not suppose that any irian would desire to be dragged into a wrangle about the matter, but I made my statement on the best authority. Without the authority of the person who gave me the information I shall not bring his name into the matter.I am prepared to take full responsibility for the statement. What we have seen here to-day has proved my. words. The Government have a scheme which they are not prepared to put before Parliament, and let us decide whether it is right or wrong. They wish to do this through the Department. Who is ruling in this matter? Is' it the Department or the Government? The Government must accept all responsibility for this. They cannot shield themselves behind the convenience of the Department.

Amendment agreed to.

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