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Wednesday, 10 December 1930

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) , - It would appear that my remarks at question time to-day caused the Minister to make his explanation. Although I recognize that the Leader of the Senate is over-loaded with work almost beyond human endurance, and that Senator Barnes is also over-burdened with ministerial duties, it is necessary, to consider whether this chamber is being fairly treated. Is it not being subjected to discourtesy? Senator Daly will admit that. Under every other government the ministerial section of the Senate has been amply manned. In the circumstances, my complaint is fully warranted. Let it be taken to the source of the trouble. A certain place persists in regarding the Senate, if not with disrespect, then with undisguised indifference. The injustice is so patent that I do not desire to labour the point. The situation is unique in the history of the Federal Government that one man should have imposed on him the task of doing what seven or eight Ministers do in another chamber. ,

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE (Western Australia) [9.38]. - Perhaps, by failing to make it clear that Senator Daly had, conferred. with me, I was responsible for Senator Lynchs opening this subject at an earlier hour of the day. When the matter was raised I explained the position. I quite agree with Senator Lynch as to the under-manning of the ministerial side of the Senate, but as I have previously dealt with that anomaly, I shall not pursue it now.

I should like to know whether the Leader of the Government (Senator Daly) can give honorable senators an indication whether they will be able to get away on Friday evening. It is necessary for those of us who live in distant States to have reasonable notice so that we may make our travelling arrangements. There are only three trains to Western Australia each week, and honorable senators from that State do not wish to be travelling during Christmas time. I am sure that the Leader of the Government will agree that, while honorable senators on this side may differ from him politically, they have not interfered with the conduct of government business.

Senator Rae - If the right honorable senator will let the Government have the Bank Bill he will be able to get away.

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE.The Opposition had a legitimate reason for postponing the debate on that measure. The report of the select committee was distributed only this morning, and even Senator Rae admitted that he had not had time to consider it. There is no justification for saying that the Opposition has interfered with the progress of government business. In every way it has assisted the Government, and the occasion calls for reciprocity. Very little business remains on the Senate business-paper. The eight or nine Sales Tax Bills can be dealt with to-morrow almost in half an hour. In another place the business-sheet is practically exhausted. In' the circumstances, the Government should be able to indicate when Parliament will adjourn, so that honorable senators may make the necessary arrangements to return to their homes.

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