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Friday, 17 November 1911

The CHAIRMAN - I would remind the honorable senator that he is near to becoming guilty of tedious repetition. He has made that remark quite a number of times. _

Senator Sayers - I think it is a remark which can be made, and I wish to emphasize it.

The CHAIRMAN - Order. I remind the honorable senator that I have allowed him a very great deal of latitude already under the standing order dealing with tedious repetition.

Senator SAYERS - If you, sir, compel me to " stone- wall," I will do so. This is a very short clause, and we have asked merely for the reasons for it. I have made that request repeatedly.

The CHAIRMAN - Too many times.

Senator SAYERS - What am I to do?

Are we compelled, under the Standing Orders, having asked a question once, not to ask it again?

The CHAIRMAN - The honorable senator is aware of the standing order to which I have referred.

Senator SAYERS - I know it, and 1 think there is nothing in it which would prevent me asking for an answer, to a question as many times as I please. If, when a Minister refuses to answer a question, honorable senators are not to be permitted to ask it again, we might as well have no Parliament at all. I shall be forced to adopt quite another course. Ministers know that I might " stone-wall " this measure by bringing in a number of volumes, and' reading from them, but I have preferred to adopt a different course.

Senator Findley - We are not concerned as to whether the honorable senator reads from a number of volumes or not.

Senator SAYERS - I am not concerned as to what the Minister thinks about the matter - good, bad, or indifferent. I am asking for fair play for the electors of this country, and I do not want the Ministry to hold anything up their sleeves. I have a right to ask the questions I have put to the Minister, and I ought to get a reply to them.

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