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Thursday, 23 November 1905

Mr LIDDELL (HUNTER, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Although this Parliament is now one which reflects considerable credit upon the Commonwealth - and I trust that it may long continue to do so - the trend of politics is such that it is possible that at a later stage the Federal Parliament will not maintain its present standard. We are fortunate in having to preside over us a gentleman in whom every honorable member places the most implicit trust, but the time may come when the high office of Speaker will not be so worthily filled. Party feeling may run so high that the rights of members may be endangered, unless they are efficiently safeguarded. Therefore, in order to bring the proposed new standing order somewhat into accord with that which has been adopted by the House of Commons, I move -

That the following words be added : "Provided always that this rule shall be put in force only when the Speaker or the Chairman of Committees is in the chair, and it appears to the Chair that the motion is not an abuse of the rules of the House, or an infringement of the rights of the minority."

Mr. HIGGINS(Northern Melbourne). - The honorable member proposes to add to the proviso which I had intended to insert a provision that the closure shall not be enforced, unless it appears that the motion is an abuse of the rules of the House!, or am infringement of the rights of the minority. If that member had moved his amendment at the place at which I had proposed to insert it. it would have had some sense in grammar, and in reason, but inasmuch as he proposes to tack it on to the end of the motion, it will have no sense in reason or grammar, and I feel free to vote against it.

Mr. McCAY(Corinella).- With every respect to the honorable and learned member, it appears to me that the amendment is not only good in sense, but is also good in grammar, and that it also proposes to do common justice. Therefore, I propose to vote for it.

Mr. JOSEPHCOOK (Parramatta).I merely desire to add to the remarks of the honorable and learned member for Corinella, that the reason can be corrected, and the grammar can be amended, and that, therefore the difficulties suggested bv the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne are not insuperable.

Mr Higgins - The honorable member would " stone- wall " a grammatical correction.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - There is another reason for this political cocktailism

Mr Higgins - I rise to a point of order. I wish to know whether the honorable member is at liberty to use such a term with regard to another honorable member?

Mr SPEAKER - I would ask the honorable member for Parramatta to withdraw his remark.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Certainly. I shall substitute a very old parliamentary expression. I would say that another reason why the honorable and learned member has jumped Jim Crow over his own amendment is to be found in the decision of the caucus not to admit of any modification of the Government proposal. I congratulate my honorable friend upon his complete subserviency to caucus rule.

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