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Thursday, 22 August 1912

Senator GIVENS (Queensland) . - I have always protested against adjournments of the character now proposed and I. intend to do so on this occasion.

Senator Millen - Does the honorable senator desire an additional week?

Senator GIVENS - The proposed adjournment, from my point of view, is altogether wrong. We have not yet proceeded with the discussion of the Budgetpapers, and I have always objected to adjournments of this character whilst any serious business remains to be transacted. Honorable senators have complained again and again that a reasonable opportunity is not afforded them to discuss the financial statement; that it is presented at the last moment, and when, because of their desire to return to their homes, they have been forced to pass the Estimates practically without discussion. To this complaint the Government have replied, " The Budgetpapers have been before the Senate for some time, and you have had ample opportunity to discuss the whole question, but have failed to avail yourselves of it." No matter what Government is in power the resumption of the debate on the motion that the Budget-papers be printed is always placed at the bottom of the businesspaper, and we find to-day that, although we have yet to discuss the Budget it is proposed that we shall adjourn for a month. It is said that honorable senators desire a rest, and wish to return to their homes, or visit their constituents. Such an adjournment as that now proposed would not permit of my visiting my home in North Queensland. I could not leave Melbourne: until Wednesday next, and even if I travelled night and day I should not be able to spend more than three days in my home at the back of Cairns. Whilst there is business on the notice-paper to be done we should object to any adjournment. We should do the work that we are paid to transact, and when we have cleared the business-paper we should have such an adjournment as would give us a reasonable opportunity to visit our constituents, and to make ourselves acquainted with the wants of the country. But the " tiddlewinking " adjournments that we have had, particularly during the present session, are of no value to us. It is wrong that we should be compelled at the bidding of the Government to agree to this adjournment at a time when the most important subject of the year - the Budget statement - remains to be debated. We are to free the Government from criticism, and to adjourn for a month simply because the Government ask us to do so. I shall vote against this motion.

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