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Friday, 13 July 1906


Mr DEAKIN (Ballarat) (Prime Minister) . - The honorable member for Coolgardie is correctly informed that the delay in the consideration of the proposition as to Sir William McGregor has been due to the necessary arrangements required to be made between the Colonial Office and himself before he can consent to become a candidate for the post. The House has already been informed, in reply to the honorable member for Moreton, it will have the opportunity of discussing the matter before any appointment is made. The consideration of a vote for the purpose of wireless telegraphy will come before the Cabinet during the next few weeks, in connexion with the preparation of the Estimates. The Premier of Queensland is in possession of a copy of the letter which was received by the Government with reference to Brisbane, and also Melbourne and Sydney, as ports of call in connexion with the oversea mail service. Any statement made by that honorable ' gentleman is therefore certain to be correct, because he has the tenderer's letter in his hand. The question of altering the date for holding future elections for the Senate to March or April has not been decided by the Cabinet, but is, I am in a position to say, favorably regarded by it. No lime will be lost in dealing with the Tariff. It is recognised that when the proposals are submitted it will be desirable to deal with them in a group, and, of course, to dispose of them as rapidly as possible. In the meantime, we have to provide another place with sufficient work to keep it continuously occupied for the period which we shall need for dealing with the Tariff. Having regard to both these matters, and the necessity for stating the financial position of the Commonwealth, whichmay be incidentally affected by some of these "proposals, I can promisethe honorable memberthat the Tariff will be dealt with, not only as early as possible, tout as fully as possible. The report of the Royal Commission on OldAge Pensions is before the Cabinet. The honorable member for Wide Bay correctly states the attitude of the great bulk of honorable members, but he is also aware of the fact that the whole question turns, not so much on the adoption of a scheme, as on the financial arrangements, which, would require to be made regarding it. Those have been under the consideration of my colleague, the Treasurer, and the Cabinet. I hope that we shall be in a position to make a proposition in that regard before this session closes.

Question resolved in the affirmative.







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