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Friday, 17 August 1906

Mr SPEAKER - I heard the Minister say that he had been subjected to cowardly attacks. If his remarks applied to the honorable member for Parramatta they must be withdrawn.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The sensibilities of honorable members are becoming very tender. If, according to the rules of the House, I have to withdraw the remarks, I shall do so in deference to you, sir. The honorable member for Parramatta has made statements to-day, and previously, with reference to the conduct of the business placed in my hands, but he is very much mistaken if he supposes for a moment that I will submit to any dictation from him. I shall do as I think best. With reference to the remarks that were unfairly made - I presume that that is not unparliamentary - with regard to my going away the other evening, I should like to ask where are the leader of the Opposition and the honorable member for Macquarie ?

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Neither of those honorable members, are in charge of an important Department.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I do not intend to quietly submit to the leader of the Opposition and others travelling around the country and doing their best to injure me. I shall deal with any one who adopts such a line of conduct towards me as I have done in the past. The honorable member for Parramatta stated that I should have left the proposals with regard to the spirit duties in the hands of one of my colleagues. All I need say is that the Prime Minister took charge of the resolutions, and had placed in his hands a com- of the suggestions which I had not received from the Comptroller-General until after I had addressed the Committee. I. think that the. Prime Minister handled the proposals as well as I could have done, and that they have been dealt with satisfactorily

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The case referred to was the fourth during this session in which the Minister had handed over his work to other Ministers.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - It was nothing of the kind. The honorable member is not so constant in his attendance that he need crow about it. It seems to me that members of the Opposition are constantly absent. If I ask one of my colleagues to take charge of a measure in my absence, what right have honorable members of the

Opposition to object to my conduct? It is like their impudence to do so. Reference has. been made to the delay in bringing forward the spirit duties. Any delay that occurred was unavoidable, because important measures had to be dealt with in the meantime. Included among these was the Australian Industries Preservation. Bill, in regard to which one of the Melbourne daily newspapers told a deliberate untruth when it stated that I had forced on that measure against the wish of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister stated before the session was opened that that Bill would be the first submitted to Parliament, and I merely repeated what he had said. I am not prepared to submit without protest to unfair comment by the journal which prematurely published the report of the Tariff Commission with regard to metals and machinery - an action which has never been taken before by any journal of repute. The Bill embodying the resolutions of this House with regard to the spirit duties is practically ready now, and if I am not here on Tuesday next, the Prime Minister will introduce it.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I understood that the Prime Minister was waiting for the honorable gentleman's return.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I have seen the Comptroller-General, and the Bill will be ready for. presentation on Tuesday. I took the draft away with me in order to look through it.

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