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Friday, 24 November 1911

The PRESIDENT - Order !

Senator O'KEEFE - I take it that this motion would not have been moved at this juncture were it not for the fact that it is intended that Parliament shall be prorogued about three weeks hence because of Christmas time.

Senator Findley - Who said so?

Senator O'KEEFE - Surelythe honorable senator need not have made that interjection when the newspapers told us clearly only a couple of evenings ago that in another place the Prime Minister stated definitely that he was moving a similar motion because the Government desired to finish the session on this side of Christmas. That is my answer to the Honorary Minister's interjection.

Senator Needham - The honorable senator would not prevent the representatives of distant States from returning to their homes for Christmas?

Senator O'KEEFE - Certainly not. I am just as anxious as. is any honorable senator to spend the approaching Christmas with the members of my family. But there is no necessity for this motion at the present juncture, for the simple reason that there is no need for the session to end within a few weeks. With a brief vacation, it might be continued, just as was done on at least one occasion since the inception of the Federation. I am quite sure that the VicePresident of the Executive Council will adhere to his pledge, and give whatever time may be available to private members for the transaction of their business. But we do not need to ask how much time that will be.

Senator Mcgregor - It will depend entirely upon honorable senators.

Senator O'KEEFE - If we are to complete the programme which has been put before us, there will be no time available for the transaction of private members' business, and it will only be the result of an act of grace on the part of the Government if a few hours are devoted to the consideration of that business. I do not profess to be a. greater glutton for work than is any other honorable senator ; but I cannot allow this occasion to pass without uttering my protest against private members' business being sacrificed, merely because there is an established idea that the session should close at a certain period. It would be better for the country if Parliament adjourned for a few weeks, and then re-assembled to complete the consideration of the business which we desire to transact.

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