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Thursday, 7 December 1905
Page: 6503

The CHAIRMAN - The question before the Chair is whether or not clause 4 should be agreed to.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - This clause ought not to be passed until honorable members are in a fit condition to vote on it, and after full deliberation. Further, an opportunity ought to be given to honorable members who are now absent to express their opinion on the clause. Some on this side have gone home to-night in the full belief that this clause would not be reached. After consulting with members of the Government, these honorable members were given to understand that it was only intended to pass the second reading. Amongst the honorable members who have gone away is the honorable member for Macquarie, who did so after consulting with the VicePresident of the Executive Council.

Mr Ewing - The honorable member for Macquarie got no assurance of that description from me.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member for Macquarie went1 away after receiving, I admit, no assurance, but in the firm belief, after talking with the VicePresident of the Executive Council, that only the second reading of the Bill would be passed.

Mr Ewing - I said no more than that I would accept no responsibility in regard to the matter.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We have been discussing this Bill for over fourteen hours, and, after so long ai period in the atmosphere of this Chamber, I do not think that honorable members are in a fit state to give proper consideration to this measure. The debate has been equally divided about the House, and this is too important a matter for hasty consideration. All we on this side can do, however, is to enter a protest. I say emphatically that this is not legislation, but is the exercise of brutal, degrading force, with a view to bludgeoning through proposals which ought to be considered carefully in reasonable hours. If anything could add to the degradation which the Prime Minister has m already heaped upon his head during this session, it is his conduct now.

The CHAIRMAN - Order ! The honorable member is not in order in making those remarks.

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