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Friday, 1 December 1911

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) - - 1'his Chamber has long been used to the peculiar methods of Senator Gardiner. Ignoring the real question under review, he has chosen to launch an appeal to class and party prejudice. Finding himself confronted with the simple question of whether he is in favour of a minimum wage being paid to the workers on the proposed transcontinental line, he ceased to discuss that question, and suggested that, because Senator Stewart was acting, as he said, in conjunction with opponents of the measure, therefore .the amendment was entitled to condemnation. Now, how does Senator Gardiner know that the Opposition are supporting Senator Stewart? The honorable senator suggested that the amendment had been drafted by the Opposition, and that Senator Stewart was gullible enough to vote with them. Now, as a matter of fact. I am going to vote against Senator Stewart's amendment. Senator Gardiner's whole object seems to be to create an impression that anything which emanates from his opponents is absolutely bad.

Senator Lynch - Then why did the honorable senator suggest an amendment of the amendment.

Senator MILLEN - Because I thought the honorable senator's objections were honest, but I see now that they were not. The honorable senator finds fault with Senator Stewart's amendment on the ground that the wage fixed by it was not high enough, and, as I always dislike to see illfeeling between political brethren, I suggested a way in which Senator Lynch and Senator Stewart might compose their differences, and find common ground upon which to rest.

Senator Gardiner - The honorable senator will not support a minimum wage of 14s. a day notwithstanding that he suggested it.

Senator MILLEN - I object to stipulating any wage in a Bill of this kind. I rose to make this statement, and to disprove all that Senator Gardiner has said in reference to the amendment. In future, before he ventures to attack any section of the Senate, or to raise his old party war-cry, he should at least take the trouble to ascertain on which side honorable senators are voting.

Senator Gardiner - The honorable senator himself suggested a minimum wage of ms. per day.

Senator MILLEN - In order to meet the spurious and hypocritical suggestion which emanated from the other side of tha Chamber.

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