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Thursday, 22 August 1912

Senator BLAKEY (VICTORIA) - That I cannot say.

Senator Millen - It is costing the Commonwealth a lot more in official salaries to get that return.

Senator BLAKEY - I made the statement on the authority of an official return, and the return of £4,800 a year, capitalized at 5 per cent., would mean £96,000.

Senator Sayers - You are making out that the Commonwealth is getting that return from its expenditure, but it is not.

Senator BLAKEY -The honorable senator says that in the great town of Charters Towers, in six months they built a reservoir to supply a population of 25.000. He was the Chairman of the Water Supply Board - he, the great, glorified Senator Sayers.

Senator Sayers - Who said so?

Senator BLAKEY - Owing to his own efforts, and assisted by others-

Senator Sayers - Who said so?

Senator BLAKEY - Owing to his own efforts, and assisted by others-

Senator Sayers - You are a mean man, Blakey ; that is all I can say.

Senator Blakey - On a point of order, sir, I desire to ask if that remark is in order ?

The CHAIRMAN - What remark does the honorable senator object to?

Senator Sayers - I object to Senator Blakey bringing my name into the matter, because 'he has no authority for doing so.

The CHAIRMAN - Does Senator Blakey say that a remark has been made to which he takes exception? .

Senator Blakey - I certainly do, sir. I say, with all due respect to Senator Sayers, that he was Chairman of a Water Supply Board.

The CHAIRMAN - I did not hear any remark. Does the honorable senator desire some remark to be withdrawn?

Senator Blakey - Yes. I do not like Senator Sayers making the accusation that I am a mean man.

Senator Sayers - Where did you get the information ?

Senator Blakey - The honorable senator told me.

The CHAIRMAN - Senator Blakeytakes exception to a remark by Senator Sayers, which he desires to be withdrawn.

Senator Sayers - Oh, I withdraw it, Mr. Chairman.

Senator Needham - On a point of order, sir, you called upon Senator Sayers to withdraw a remark, and he said, " Oh, I withdraw it." I think that he ought to have the decency to stand up and withdraw the remark.

The CHAIRMAN - My desire was to see the business carried on without undue delay. I do not desire to waste time.

Senator Needham - There is no waste of time.

Senator Sayers - I am quite willing to. get up and withdraw the remark.

Senator Gardiner - Would I be in order, sir, in moving a dissent from your manner of conducting the business. I object to the withdrawal of the remark being made in the manner in which it was. If there is any possibility of having the withdrawal made in a proper way, I shall take the necessary steps to that end.

Senator Sayers - Mr. Chairman,F withdraw the remark.

Senator Needham - On a point of order, sir, you demanded the withdrawal of a remark, and 1 submit that the manner in which the withdrawal was made was disrespectful to the Chair, as well as to the Senate.

The CHAIRMAN - I demanded & withdrawal of the remark, and Senator Sayers immediately withdrew it.

Senator Needham - But I object to the manner in which he withdrew it.

The CHAIRMAN - Order ! Senator Sayers withdrew the remark in a manner which I did not take as an affront to the Chair, although he was not on his feet-

My desire was to see the business carried on without undue delay, and, consequently, I did not take exception to it.

Senator BLAKEY - After this " storm in a teacup " which Senator Sayers created, I wish to say that when I used the remarkI had no desire to offend him, or to use any term derogatory to any honorable senator.

Senator Sayers - This is the first time I have known an honorable senator to make use of a private conversation on the floor of the Senate.

Senator BLAKEY - If the honorable senator made the statement to me in a private conversation, I did not take it that I was breaking a rule of the Senate. He told me in private conversation that he was Chairman of a Water Supply Board at Charters Towers, and that he constructed a weir in six months. IT he thinks that, in any way, I have not acted the part of a gentleman, or that I have divulged a private conversation, I will apologize to him.

Senator Sayers - I do.

Senator BLAKEY - I thought that every honorable senator knew that Senator Sayers was connected, and I say all credit to him if he was, with a Water Supply Board.

Senator Millen - Is that why you referred to him as the great and glorified Senator Sayers - to be complimentary?

Senator BLAKEY - Nothing of the kind.

Senator Sayers - This is the first time that 1 have known an honorable senator to stand up and do a thing like that.

Senator BLAKEY - The honorable senator must be getting either pretty thinskinned, or into his second childhood.

The CHAIRMAN - Order ! I ask Senator Blakey not to continue in this strain of personal recrimination. Explanations have been heard on both sides, and he should now discuss the question before the Committee.

Senator BLAKEY - Out of respect to you, sir, I will desist. Even although this or any other Government have not erected a weir at the Cotter River at a height of 82 feet, it does not follow thatthey are not carrying out their duty of providing a supply of water to the few inhabitants in the Federal Territory. It is of no use to go on with all these works and expend money until there is a population there to receive the benefit, whether it be of water supply, electricity, gas. sanitation, or sewer age. There is no analogy between the cases of the country towns which have been cited and the case of the Federal Capital. I am pleased to know that the Government are proceeding in a straightforward way to expend upon the Federal Capital the money which is voted by Parliament. I trust that the work of building that city will be carried out in the best interests of Australia.

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