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Thursday, 7 May 1931

Senator BARNES (Victoria) (VicePresident of the Executive Council) . - Replying to the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Pearce), I assure the right honorable gentleman that, although I considered it a discourtesy to me that he did not supply me with a list of the quesions that he proposed to ask Sir Robert Gibson yesterday, I took the view that that discourtesy was quite unintentional. I was not similarly discourteous to the right honorable gentleman, because I did not notify Sir Robert Gibson in advance of the questions that I proposed to ask him, and, in fact, did not prepare a list of them before his appearance at the bar of the Senate.

It is somewhat queer that Senator Johnston should be continually complaining - I might almost say, wailing - about the disabilities under which the farmers of his State are suffering. My mind goes back to the situation that developed in this chamber a few months ago when the Government, in its anxiety to help the farmers not onlyof Western Australia, but also of every other State, placed before this Senate certain proposals which it desired to have made law. In contradistinction to the honorable senator's travail at the present time, on the important occasion when his vote would have counted for something, and would have enabled assistance to be given to the farmers of his and other States, where was he? It would have been necessary to place a bullockbell on him to keep track of his movements. It ill becomes the honorable senator to endeavour to impose on the farmers of his State by making it appear that he is doing his best to help them, when at that crucial period he failed to to do what lay in his power on their behalf.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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