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Thursday, 9 November 1911

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - The announcement of the Minister takes me by surprise. I understood that the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill was in the charge of the Vice-President of the Executive Council, and that it would not be dealt with until he returned to Melbourne. Of course, the Government has a right to take business as it likes; butI submit that, unless there is a strong reason for the change, it is advisable to adhere to the understanding arrived at. The announcement was that the Electoral Bill would be proceeded with, in order that the other House might obtain possession of it, and an assurance was given to me that the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill would not be taken until the Vice-President of the Executive Council returned. I admit at once that the Bill has been upon the paper for some time; but all that I can find time to do is to keep myself posted in regard to business that I think is immediately ahead of me. I can only envy those who, more fortunate than I am, are able to master business that does not seem likely to be brought under consideration for some time. Quite a number of honorable senators, who are not here now, are under the impression that a certain order of business was to be pursued. Unless there is strong reason to the contrary, I ask the Minister to adhere to the arrangement originally made.

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