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Tuesday, 17 December 1912

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - Senator Stewart has anticipated what I desired to state. I do not know that I need say more than that. But I wish to prevent any idea arising that I am in any way concurring in the evident desire of the Government to push through, in the short time of three or four days remaining to us, legislation which in itself would form sufficient work for a whole session.

Senator Needham - Do you want to come back after Christmas?

Senator MILLEN - No, I do not; but it is much more preferable that I should be inconvenienced than that we should pass legislation in a slovenly fashion, which not one of us can pretend to study if we put it through in the few days remaining to us.

Senator Lynch - If it had not been for the no-confidence motions in the other Chamber we should have had these measures here in plenty of time.

Senator MILLEN - There has not been a no-confidence motion in this Chamber. The Minister who has moved this motion, and who asks us to rush through eight or ten measures of first-class importance in three or four days, was the very Minister who moved that the Senate should adjourn for a month.

Senator Needham - Why?

Senator MILLEN - Because the Government could not handle their business. Half the measures that we are now asked to consider could have been brought before the Senate at the time we went awayfor a month's holiday.

Senator Lynch - Why did your party hang up business in another Chamber through no-confidence motions?

Senator MILLEN - No-confidence motions in the other House have no relation to the holiday of the Senate. The Senate adjourned because the Government were not in a position to go on with their business. I defy any honorable senator to point to a case where, within three or four days of the close of a session, a House of Parliament, with any claim to be a deliberative Chamber, has been asked to pass such a number of measures of first-class importance. We have not finished dealing with the referenda proposals ; they will require further consideration by the Senate before we deal with the measures, which the Government have now thrown down.

Senator Vardon - And there are the Estimates, too.

Senator MILLEN - Yes. If the Senate, irrespective of parties, is prepared to indorse the present proposal of the Government that in three or four days we should consider measures which could reasonably occupy the time of a deliberative Chamber for five or six weeks, it can do so; but I wish it to be clearly understood that honorable members on this side take no. share in that course of action.

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