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Thursday, 12 October 1911

Senator RAE (New South Wales) . - The Minister has made an appeal to us in such a kindlv fashion that one would feel very loath indeed to continue the opposition to the measure before us. But while agreeing with his statement that the debate has been very much longer than the Bill is worth - of course, every oreof us who has opposed it recognises that we consider that it isworth nothing whatever - nevertheless, I cannot agree that the time has been entirely wasted. I wish to point out the reasons which have actuated me and other honorable senators who have opposed the Bill. My opposition has been grounded upon two considerations. First, I have opposed the Bill because it is entirely wrong and false in principle ; secondly, because a number of legitimate interests will be affected by it, even if it be passed in an amended form ; thirdly, because I consider that it is a slur and a reflection on the Senate of the Australian National Parliament that its time should be occupied in dealing with legislation of this character. We have been engaged in a discussion extending over a couple of sittings upon a piece of legislation which will be of no practical value to anybody.

Senator Pearce - The honorable senator must admit that he himself has occupied a very considerable part of those two sittings.

Senator RAE - I quite admit that, and I say the justification for the time we have bestowed upon this measure is, that we consider it to be necessary to teach even our own. Ministry not to fool and belittle the Australian Parliament by introducing legislation of such a frivolous and objectionable character. That is our justification for our opposition to the measure. Most of those who have voted for it have been deaf to the arguments urged against it.

Senator Pearce - They have heard the arguments until they have become tired of them.

Senator RAE - Some of those who voted for the measure did so "on the blind " at the last sitting, when the arguments had not been unduly protracted. In answer to the Minister's appeal that the minority have been fighting this question for a very long time, I point out that it is only minorities who have to fight. A majority can always carry what it wants in the long run. We ought not to be blamed because we are a minority; and we are not such a small minority, after all.

Senator Pearce - A minority worthy of a greater cause.

Senator RAE - I quite agree that the time bestowed upon this question was worthy of a better cause.

Senator Millen - The remedy for that is in the Minister's own hands.

Senator RAE - Just so. The Minister should withdraw this paltry legislation, and give us something worth while. There are other measures of great importance upon which we should like to bestow a little consideration.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN -I call the honorable senator's attention to the fact that he is not now dealing with the amendment before the Committee.

Senator RAE - With all respect to your ruling, Mr. Chairman, I point out that the Minister made an appeal to us to allow the remaining stages of the Bill to the

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - I cannot help it if the Minister did make a personal appeal. I can only direct attention to what is before the Committee.

Senator RAE - I do not think that in a Democratic chamber, such as this is supposed to be, I ought to be pulled up for replying to what the Minister was allowed' to say. However, I will not dwell upon the point if you, sir, rule that I am not in order.

Senator Gardiner - The honorable senator might claim his right as the leader of the section who are opposed to the Bill.

Senator RAE - I make no claim to special rights. I certainly hope, however, that the debate which has occurred will be sufficient to warn any Ministry - even a Labour Ministry - against introducing such tom-fool legislation again, if that remark be not out of order.

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