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Wednesday, 11 July 1906

Mr DEAKIN (Ballarat) (Minister of External Affairs) . - I move -

That the House do now adjourn.

Though moving the motion^ I should have been glad if honorable members could have seen their way to consent to our adjourning until 7.30 p.m. to-morrow.

Mr Fowler - Will there be a quorum in the afternoon?

Mr DEAKIN - I" have been informed by honorable members who have made inquiries that three out of every four of the very large number of honorable members we have had in attendance to-day propose to avail themselves of the invitation of Captain Walker to visit the exhibition of the Marconi system. Captain

Walker desires it to be understood that the day fixed was not of his selection. He had practically no choice left, owing to the impending departure of the Governor-General and his engagements for all other days. Captain Walker was obliged, therefore, to select to-morrow as being the only day for which it was possible to extend his invitation to us, unless he postponed it for more than a month. To-morrow, as honorable members are aware2 is set apart until 6.30 p.m. for the transaction of private members' business. The Government do not wish to abridge the rights of private members, or endeavour to do so. Having regard to the very large number of acceptances of Captain Walker's .invitation, it is extremely improbable that a quorum can be' formed or kept to-morrow afternoon. For the sake of the officers of the House, the Ministers who would require to be present, and of honorable members, it would be better to adjourn now until 7.30 p.m. That can only be done by leave. It rests practically in the hands of those who have private business on the paper for tomorrow. I should be happy to withdraw my motion if there were a general consent, but if there is not I must move the adjournment of the House.

Mr. McCOLL(Echuca) fu. 12]. - I should like to ask the Prime Minister if he will give me an opportunity to take a vote on my motion with regard to the time at which the general elections are to take place. It has been on the paper for a month. There is >no disrespect to the Government intended in that motion, as I expressly said in moving it. but the matter with which it deals is one of vital interest to nearly the whole of the rural population of the Commonwealth.

Mr Deakin - I think that we practically disposed of\ it yesterday in connexion with the deputation on. the subject. The members of the deputation were quite satisfied with what was proposed.

Mr Wilks - The honorable and learned gentleman fixed the 21st November.

Mr Deakin - That is the earliest possible date.

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