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Wednesday, 4 August 1954


Mr ALLAN FRASER (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Monaro) . - The acceptance by the House of the nomination 'of Mr. Edmonds for the post of Speaker would mean that once again this House would be ruled by loving kindness instead of by fear. In Mr. Edmonds, the House is presented with a candidate who enjoys the respect -and affection of every one of his colleagues -on both sides of the chamber. That cannot be said of the nominee of the Government parties. Unfortunately, it is true that Mr. Cameron, while he possesses qualities which, I .believe, render him eminently suitable to be once again a. back bench .critic of this Government, stirring it into action, lacks the quality of fairness which is primarily necessary in the occupant of the Chair. While. Mr. Cameron possesses a certain rough humour he does not possess, .in my opinion, the qualities necessary for calm adjudication in this House. During his term as Speaker the standard of conduct in. this House has fallen notoriously. The remedy is for honorable members to elect to the Chair a member such as Mr. Edmonds who is capable of governing this House because of the affection and respect in which other honorable members hold him. If there were no other ground for refusal to continue Mr. Archie Cameron as the 'Speaker of this House, it would be .his utter misuse of Standing Order 303. Every .honorable member knows, and you. Mr. Clerk of the House, in particular, know, that Standing Order 303 was adopted so that Mr. Speaker would have an emergency power summarily to reject an honorable member from the eli amber, but ' that standing order, as every honorable . member acquainted with the situation that led to the adoption of it is aWare, was to be used only in a condition of emergency inside this 'chamber. Mr. Archie Cameron, as Mr. Speaker, has both perverted and twisted the purpose of that Standing Order, with the result tha't: the power of the House to control honorable members and finally decide who shall sit here or who .shall be ejected, has .been taken from it. That was never intended. Such an interpretation of Standing Order 303 is a complete misuse of the intention that led to the adoption of it. >On that ground alone, Mr. Archie Cameron does not deserve any longer to be the Speaker of this chamber. But I can assure the House that we .shall have, in Mr. Edmonds, -a Speaker who will not misuse any of the great powers that are associated with that office. Mr. Edmonds, with a calm and judicial mind,, will administer justice to honorable members on both sides of the chamber.

The second defect which should (disqualify Mr. Archie Cameron for the position of Mr.. Speaker is that, with all the goodwill in the world, he lacks an essential sense of fairness for this office. He does not :give a consistent interpretation of any of the Standing Orders, and the House will agree with me when I say that one- is never sure from day to. day what will ' be his interpretation of any standing order. Even when, the Opposition has succeeded in having its point of view upheld by Mr. Speaker Cameron, it has nearly always been the wrong point of view. Mr. Archie Cameron, as Mr. Speaker, is almost incapable of being right.


Mr Falkinder - Is the honorable member- for Eden-Monaro biased?







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