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Tuesday, 14 August 1906

Mr CONROY (Werriwa) .- Nothing could be more opposed to the true spirit of parliamentary government than for a moribund Parliament - and unquestionably this Parliament may be so described - to be called upon to deal with1 motions relating to the Tariff that may have the effect of unsettling trade and disturbing our commercial relations with other countries, and which, in the circumstances, cannot receive that consideration to which they would otherwise be entitled.

No one will deny that this Parliament is at present on its last legs, and that the Government are, as it were, simply " sparring for wind." The position would not be so serious as it appears if it were not that the Budget has not yet been dealt with, and that until it has, there can be no attempt to close the session. At the fag end of its life of three years, this| Parliament is asked to enter upon a discussion which, affecting as it does a mat>ter of vital principle, must give rise to serious divisions of opinion. It is' true that the motion before us at present relates to a very small part of the Tariff, but we have been told that another motion dealing with other manufactures, and particularly with the manufacture of harvesters, is to be brought forward. I invite the Government to say, even at this late stage, whether or not it is in consonance with any sound maxim of parliamentary government that we should now be asked to deal with this question. I say unhesitatingly that it is not. It is wrong that a party consisting of only fifteen or sixteen members, dominating another party of twenty-six or twenty-seven - -

Sir John Forrest - Then Ave do dominate them ? .

Mr CONROY - I have never said that the party in question dominates the Government. the TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr. Mauger). - The honorable member is departing from the question ' before the Chair, which does not relate to the domination of any one.

Mr CONROY - If you will only listen, Mr. Chairman, you will know that I have not finished mv speech.

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