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Tuesday, 19 December 1905

Mr DEAKIN - Yes; but the strain imposed by constant sitting, during which their whole attention has had to be concentrated on every incident, upon the pro*cedure of the House, and upon the speeches of honorable members, often during periods of excitement and confusion, has been such that the accuracy of their record has been really a triumph of their art. Then, sir, we cannot forget the other servants of this House, who, on their part, have been obliged to work for many extra hours, and for- long periods, often discharging painful and toilsome tasks.

Mr Fisher - What about the ventilating of the House?

Mr DEAKIN - In that connexion, I am properly reminded that during these long sittings we have discovered the defects of the qualities of this House. I can remember that on the first occasion when I had the honour of holding Ministerial office in the Legislature of Victoria, and sat upon this bench - it must have been very nearly twenty-five years ago- I was questioned by an honorable member sitting in the Opposition corner, who was an expert in ventilation, and who called attention to the vitiated state of the atmosphere. He received on that occasion the usual Ministerial reply, that the subject would be inquired into and the evil corrected. If I have to repeat the same assurance twenty-five years afterwards, I venture to say that there has not been that " raw haste," which the poet says, is " half sister to delay," nor will my effort at improvement be described as one of those radical measures with which I am sometimes associated. May I say one other word to the members of this House. May I venture to thank those associated with me for the part they have taken in one of the most trying, tedious, but fruitful sessions within my experience. I need hardly allude to the utterly unexpected events of the early part of the session which led to a transformation, and threw the responsibilities of government upon us. But we assumed a serious obligation when we assured His Excellency the Governor-General by resolution that we were prepared to do the work that lay before us, alleging that there was work to be done, and that we were prepared to do it. I say, at the conclusion of this session, that Ave can look back upon a splendid record of. ' legislation accomplished - I believe efficiently accomplished - touching many great and vital issues affecting the well being of this country and vindicating the character of this Parliament. That record proves that we have been true to the pledge that we gave that we were capable of doing the work. We have accomplished it, and I trust that in the next session of this Parliament we shall be able to establish an equally satisfactory' record of diligence and devotion to duty.

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