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Thursday, 28 June 1906

Mr DEAKIN (Ballarat) (Minister of External Affairs) . - The resumed debate on this motion has come forward some what unexpectedly. I should like to know whether the honorable member for Melbourne Ports desires to proceed' with his amendment ?

Mr Mauger - I think so. Why not?

Mr DEAKIN - Because as matters stand, I should prefer to see both withdrawn. The motion invites honorable members to express an opinion before final information has been received from some of the electoral officers. As honorable members have already been informed by the Minister of Home Affairs, the date mentioned in the motion happens to be one indicated to the electoral officers as that upon which Ministers desired to be able to hold the elections, if arrangements could be completed throughout the Commonwealth. Before the present session, and before any attention was called to this date, the Minister of Home Affairs had been proceeding exactly on the lines of the motion. At present, we are not in possession of the final reports from the most distant electoral officials, and are therefore not able to give a definite assurance that the elections will be held upon this date. When these reports are to hand, their effect will be communicated to Parliament. It is the intention of the Government to inform the House as soon as possible of the earliest date at which the elections can be held. They hope that honorable members, when they are fully advised of it, will do their best to assist us in accelerating the business of the session, and bringing our proceedings to a close. Under these circumstances, I think that the motion might be withdrawn, or, at an\ rate, postponed for the present. When we are in possession of definite information, honorable members can express a better opinion, although no expression of opinion can. bind the Government with regard to the business which they consider necessary to submit to Parliament. The question as to how that business will be dealt with rests, of course, with honorable members. A certain programme has been laid, and it will be our duty to proceed with it.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It will be impossible to deal with the whole of the Government programme. ,

Mr DEAKIN - Time will show. If the whole of the questions on the Government programme cannot be completely disposed of, they may be dealt with in such a manner as to meet the needs of the present time. Subject to that consideration, I think that all parties agree that as soon as the electoral arrangements permit, and the business which it is our duty to discharge has been dealt with, we should take the first opportunity of consulting the electors. If no one is authorized to act on behalf of the honorable member for Echuca, who is absent from the chamber, I should like the debate to be adjourned.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Knox) adjourned.

SUPPLY (Formal).

Commerce Act Regulations : Butter Grading : Victorian Butter Commission's Report: Punishment of Offenders: P. & O. S. N. Coy. Defence - Military Promotions : Inspector-General of Commonwealth Forces : Colonel Hoad : Council of Defence : Imperial Defence Committee's Report : Royal Australian Artillery : Field Artillery: Portland and Warrnambool Batteries : Light Horse Corps : Cadets : Rifle Clubs : Rifle Ranges and Ammunition. Postal Administration: Overtime: Postage of Political Publication : Telegraph Poles : Minimum Wage : Postal Assistants : Delays in Transmission of Letters and Telegrams : Postal Note Regulation : Mail Services : Payment to Contractors : Oversea Mail Contract : Telephone Charges and Requirements. Northern Territory. Nationalization of Industries. Commission Appointments. Sale of Opium. Kanaka Deportation. High Court Bench. Appeals to Privy Council. Trade Marks Act Regulations.

Question- That Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair, and that the House resolve itself into Committee of Supply - proposed.

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