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Thursday, 14 December 1905

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It seems to me that one of these amendments is most important. It means that no language can be prescribed in addition to those already prescribed - and none are prescribed except European languages - unless a resolution is passed by Parliament. Therefore, if it were desired to prescribe any other language in order to meet the susceptibilities pf any nation with which we were friendly, that course could be adopted only after a long and tolerably angry debate in this House. That would involve the adoption of more offensive methods than those at present provided for.

Mr Deakin - - At present, we could not add a language to those already prescribed, except by passing a special Act for that, purpose.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - There is practically no difference between the two provisions ; the amendment effects no improvement. The object of the Bill is to tone down the terms of the present Act by making them less offensive to friendly nations. But, as the result of the amendments made in this House, and further amendments proposed by the Senate, we are providing that no other language shall be prescribed except after a possibly angry debate in Parliament. That does not seem to me to be the way to conciliate a friendly nation. However, the responsibility lies with the' Government, and I can only enter my protest against what is now being done.

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