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Tuesday, 5 December 1905
Page: 6254

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - -I protest against this new proposal, which is ' unreasonable when associated with the obstinate attitude adopted by the Government with regard to the work of the session. In my long parliament tary career, I have always seen the approach of the close of a session specially provided for, both as to hours of sitting and in other respects ; but I have never known a proposal of this kind to be made in the absence of a declaration on the part of the Government of the dayas to the work to be performed during the remainder of the session. We are practically within two weeks of Christmas, and yet the Ministry are deliberately bringing down new legislation almost every week.

Mr Page - That is only padding.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We have two new Bills promised this week. What does the honorable member mean?

Mr Page - That they are trying to frighten us.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does 'the honorable member imagine that the Government are bringing down these new Bills with no intention of passing them?

Mr Page - I do.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I believe that the Honorable member will find that he is mistaken. If he considers that they are engaged in a hypocritical pretence of the kind he suggests, that is an additional reason why he should assist us in resisting the proposal that the House shall meet at such an early hour. At this time of the session, the Government ought to make a clear and definite statement as. to the business which they intend to transact before the prorogation, and, if necessary, they should put a period to the time of rising. That has been done in the Legislatures of Victoria and New South Wales. The Victorian Government has stated their intention that the local Legislature shall rise on the 1 2 th instant.

Sir William Lyne - It is only a few Bays before the contemplated prorogation that such a statement is made.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The statement to which I have referred was made a fortnight prior to the proposed date of prorogation. A fortnight will carry us to the 16th December, when honorable members must leave, if they are going to spend Christmas at home. The representatives of North Queensland and Western Australia indeed must leave Melbourne not later than the 16th inst, if they are to be home by Christmas, and unless we make up our minds to come back after Christmas, the Government ought to be in a position to say on what day they propose that the House shall rise. Unless they are prepared to treat honorable members in that reasonable, fair, and customary way, I, for one, shall object most strongly to this proposal to take up the further time of the House. If we are to be here from 10.30 a.m. until 11 or 12 p.m., we cannot give to the proposed legislation that attention which it requires. Such a proposal means not only sweating in a physical sense, but the degradation of the House in a way that is demoralizing. Why should honorable members sit here till midnight grinding out legislation, about which they are practically ignorant.

Mr Maloney - Hear, hear.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am sure that the honorable member does not know half of what is going on. He is kept here to interject about legislation of which he is ignorant.

Mr Maloney - The honorable member, as usual, is absolutely incorrect.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Lately, as soon as I have risen to speak, the honorable member has at once jeered at me.

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