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Friday, 15 September 1911

The PRESIDENT - Senator Givens takes exception to the statement made by the Vice-President of the Executive Council as not being correct, and the honorable senator should withdraw it.

Senator McGREGOR - I did not quite catch the statement.

Senator Givens - For the benefit of the honorable senator I may be allowed to explain. He accused me of saying that I was going to obstruct the Navigation Bill. I did not say anything of the kind, and I object to words being put into my mouth that I never used.

Senator McGREGOR - I am quite willing to withdraw anything, but I would ask Senator Givens whether he did not say that he would see that the Bill did not go through to-day ? .

Senator Givens - I said that I would see that it did not go through without proper discussion.

Senator McGREGOR - I will withdraw any insinuation that the honorable senator would be guilty of obstruction. I am sure, from my knowledge of him in the past, that he would never attempt to do anything of the kind. If honorable senators will look at the Governor-General's Speech, they will find that the most important measures mentioned there could not, under the Constitution, be introduced in the Senate. The most important is that for the establishment of a Commonwealth Bank. Honorable senators could not expect that that measure would be introduced here. The next is the proposed Bill to authorize the construction of the transcontinental railway to Western Australia. That could not be introduced here. The Electoral Bill might be introduced in the Senate, but, as honorable senators are aware, members of both Houses desire some time to consult the Home Affairs Department with respect to the provisions of that measure. It is not quite ready yet, but as soon as it is it will be introduced.

Senator Millen - In the Senate?

Senator McGREGOR - I hope so. With my colleagues in the Senate, I shall do all I possibly can to get it introduced here. It has been said that the adjournment proposed is too short, and that if we are to have any adjournment it should be of sufficient length to enable members of the Senate to go to the most distant parts of Australia. I hope it will be recollected that at the beginning of the month we made provision for only one month's Supply.

Senator Givens - Hear, hear; and the Senate is to be brought back when the Government wants more money.

Senator McGREGOR - It will be necessary at the beginning of next month to get further Supply.

Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - And we shall not have time to discuss it.

Senator McGREGOR - It will be the 4th October before the Bill reaches the Senate, and after that the honorable senator will have as much time as he pleases to discuss it. Of what use is it for honorable senators to be continually discussing the items of temporary Supply Bills, when they know that after the Budget Papers are laid on the table they will have an ample opportunity to discuss everything connected with the finances of the Commonwealth? I agree entirely with the Leader of the Opposition that it is not our duty merely to make play. We know we have done our work expeditiously. We have passed the AddressinReply, whilst the debate on the motion for its adoption is still being continued in another place. No matter how the business of Parliament is distributed between the two Houses, with seventy-five loquacious individuals in another place, if we sit as long as it does we must often be wasting time to no purpose. Honorable senators should recollect that while either House continues to sit, the expense is continuous, and if we adjourn there will be something saved.

Senator Givens - Very little.

Senator McGREGOR -Yes, we can save something on paper, ink, electric light, and other things. If honorable senators will view calmly, and without prejudice, the programme set before them for this session, they will see that this is the proper time for a reasonable adjournment. We should do our marking of time now, and some marking of time will always be necessary while we have the same work to do as another place, where there is double our numbers. I hope that this motion will be carried, and that honorable senators will come back on the 4th October prepared to pass the Bills which will be laid before the Senate. I anticipate that, even if no measures come up from another place, such Bills as can be introduced here will be at hand, and that we shall be fully supplied with work.

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