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Thursday, 7 December 1905
Page: 6504

Mr DEAKIN (Ballarat) (Minister of External Affairs) . - I think that the clause has the same opportunity of being considered as it would have if there were the full quota of members present. There may be some difference in the actual number of votes recorded, but I do not think there will be any difference in the actual decision. Honorable members cannot suppose that it is any pleasure for me to stop here until This hour ; and I mav say that it is less_ desirable for me to be here at the present moment than it has been on any other occasion when there has been a late sitting. I am here because, rightly or wrongly, I believe it to be my duty to be here, and to ask honorable members to remain for work. A request of this kind would not be made by me at any other period of the session, when, of course, it would be unreasonable; but if honorable members really mean what so many have said, that it is (highly desirable to close the session by Christmas, or soon after, and that we shall, as we must, complete our business before that time, it is absolutely necessary to have such sittings. At the present time, in practically every Parliament of Australia, late sittings are taking place - all are endeavouring to bring their business to a conclusion. We have discussed this Bill all day, and many honorable members have discussed amendments which are to be submitted.

Mr McCay - I merely pointed out that there has been one mistake ; and there may be others.

Mr DEAKIN - As honorable members know, neither the Government nor anybody else, so far as I am aware, are responsible for the mistake. At this stage of the session, and with the business before us, it is absolutely necessary either to have late sittings or unduly prolong the session. The Committee, I believe, know their own mind on the subject of this clause, and we can complete the consideration of the Bill if we direct our attention fairly to it, and not to side-issues.

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