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Thursday, 22 August 1912

The CHAIRMAN - These interjections are disorderly, and should cease.

Senator MILLEN - I am not worrying about this particular matter at all, because I quite recognise that when you institute a comparison between a particular job which is being carried out under one set of circumstances, and another job which is being carried out under quite other circumstances, the comparison is for all valuable purposes absurd.

Senator Rae - Two buildings can never be quite alike.

Senator MILLEN - Exactly; and therefore it is difficult to take one particular case and say, " Under these circumstances a job was carried out by day labour more economically than it could have been carried out under the contract system"; and the reverse position is equally true. We cannot arrive at the truth in that way. We can only get at it by observation and investigation over a very much wider area, and conducted by more impartial judges than those who are directly involved in the management of one or other of the two systems. I do not expect an officer employed by a Government Department to carry out work on the day-labour system to give an impartial report on that system, nor would I expect a contractor, when giving his views of the situation, to be an unbiased judge. He is not.

Senator Givens - The proof of the pudding is in the eating of it.

Senator MILLEN - The difficulty is in finding out whether you are getting exactly the same kind of pudding every time.

Senator Givens - The honorable senator has tasted this pudding, and then has begun to grumble about it.

Senator Rae - Some people get on one horn of a dilemma, but the honorable senator is on two horns at once.

Senator MILLEN - I do not grumble at this return. I venture to say that the position that I have taken up will appeal even to Senator Rae in his more serious moments.

Senator Barker - Has the honorable senator read the report of the Victorian Chief Engineer in regard to railways?

Senator Chataway - I rise to order. Is. the honorable senator in order in asking a question of Senator Millen as to whether he has read any report?

The CHAIRMAN - There is no point of order involved. As I said before, all these interjections are disorderly.

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