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Thursday, 20 May 1920


Mr WEST (East Sydney) .- This Bill is identical with a measure which was included amongst the " slaughtered innocents " at the end of a session during the regime of the Fisher Government. There is only one clause to which I take exception, and that is the provision giving the chairman a deliberative vote and a casting vote. In my opinion, that is neither democratic nor in accordance with parliamentary procedure. In this House, when there is a tie - either in the full House or in Committee - the question is resolved in the negative. If such a contingency arises in the Public Accounts Committee, the chairman will have authority to give a casting vote. A result arrived at by this means cannot be the decision of .the Committee, it must be the decision of the chairman only. I hope that honorable members will agree to strike out that clause. I am satisfied that when honorable members view this question calmly and recognise that our object should be to secure a majority decision in every case, they will amend the clause in the direction I have indicated. When honorable members opposite meet in caucus to. deal with great questions, such as that relating to the Oil Trust, their chairman has only a casting vote. The principle for which I contend is a truly democratic one, arid, provided that effect be given to it, I shall offer no opposition to the Bill.







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