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Tuesday, 14 August 1906

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - Order ! The honorable member must not reflect on the Chair. The question under consideration does not relate to the domination of any one.

Mr CONROY - I am sure, Mr. Chairman, that no one thought that my remark had any reference to the Chair.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - The honorable and learned member must not reflect on the Chair.

Mr CONROY - I have already told you that I am not reflecting on the Chair. Your utterances are a reflection upon yourself.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - Order ! The honorable and learned member must withdraw that remark.

Mr CONROY - If the remark is offensive, I. shall withdraw it, but I do not suppose that any other honorable member thought that it was offensive.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - The honorable and learned member must proceed with his speech.

Mr CONROY - If I am not subjected 4o interruptions, I shall be likely to complete my speech much sooner than I should otherwise do. I am unable to continue while you are interrupting me. That respect to the Chair which we have to show-

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - I must request the honorable and learned member to refrain from casting any reflections whatever, and to proceed with his speech.

Mr CONROY - Now that this little digression is over, I wish to point out) that a question of this kind ought not to be dealt with when the result of an adverse vote to the Government for the time "being must be a dissolution, and more especially: when we know that the rolls are mot ready for an election, and that, therefore, in the event of a dissolution, Parliament, so to speak, would be hung up for the time being. We know that we ought not to be dealing with a matter of this sort at the present time. In proof of that statement, I would point out that the very Minister responsible for this motion is so concerned with the near approach of the next general election that he has gone away to his own electorate to argue matters with one who is likely to oppose him.

Mr Johnson - He always runs away from his measures, leaving the Treasurer, or the Attorney-General in charge of them.

Mr CONROY - I should not mind his running away if he did not leave the rest of his party so tied up that they have to carry out that which he desires.

Mr McCay - Is not the Minister of Trade and Customs here?

Mr CONROY - He is not. The position appears to be all the more serious when we consider what will be the result of the carrying of this motion. There is only one linn of distillers, in Australia; Victoria is the only State in which the manufacture of spirits has been permitted. The Temperance Party elsewhere are sufficiently strong to put an end to such an industry, but whilst in Victoria they talk about temperance, we find grand masters of the order always ready to vote for any proposal which would increase the difference between the import and the Excise duties to such an extent as to allow of the manufacture of spirits in this State. I believe that even the honorable member for Melbourne Ports and others have taken a most active part in bringing about this big difference between' the Excise and import duties.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the honorable member think that is fair fighting?

Mr CONROY - I am speaking not about the Acting Chairman, as such, but about the honorable member for Melbourne Ports.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - But when he is in the Chair.

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