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Friday, 15 December 1905

Mr McLEAN (Gippsland) --1 regret that this proposal has been received in a spirit of levity which the subject does not warrant. There is no more important interest in the Commonwealth than that of agriculture. It. must be remembered that farmers cannot leave their work at certain seasons of the year' except at great personal sacrifice. The difficulty which I see in the way of accepting the amendment has reference to the Senate elections.

Mr Groom - And to the Constitution.

Mr McLEAN - I do not think that the Constitution makes it mandatory that Parliament shall continue in existence for three years.

Mr Groom - It declares that writs must be issued within a certain period after the dissolution.

Mr McLEAN - In that case, Parliament might easily be dissolved a few weeks earlier. The greatest difficulty in the way of accepting the amendment has reference to the elections of the Senate. We must all recognise that in order to save the Commonwealth an expenditure of ,£50,000 the elections for the two Houses of the Legislature must be concurrent. If that difficulty could be overcome, there is no doubt that by adopting the proposal of the honorable member for Echuca we should be conveniencing a very large section of the community without injuring; any other class.

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