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Wednesday, 10 September 1913

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) . - On a question of privilege, sir, I desire to call your attention and that of the Senate to a statement made by the Prime Minister a few days ago, and to ask you a question in connexion therewith. The Argus of the 1st September contained a paragraph headed "Federal Situation, Prime Minister's Comment." After speaking in Sydney about the situation in another branch of the Legislature, the Prime Minister finished in this way -

It looks as if the issues forecasted by Sir Richard Baker and other constitutionalists in the Convention had arrived, and I have no doubt that the great public outside is looking on and taking, note of the position of affairs at this moment. It cannot in the very nature of things be a lasting one. On one side is a party with its programme waiting for an opportunity of putting it on the statute-book ; on the other side is an Opposition in one House, and nearly the whole of the Senate as was stated the other day, playing the part of braggart and bully.

I want to call the attention of the Senate to that statement. I enter my personal protest against what I consider a grave reflection on the Senate, and I think it ill becomes a man occupying the high and exalted position of the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth-

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - On a point of order, I ask whether in raising a question of privilege, as Senator Needham has done, it is in order to comment upon the remarks to which exception is taken in the way the honorable senator is doing ? I do not object to the honorable senator raising the question of privilege, but I think he is not in order in debating the matter.

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