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Wednesday, 4 August 1920

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon J M Chanter (RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Before calling on the motion standing in the name of the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Nicholls), I think it only proper that I should place the facts of the matter before the House. The motion, as proposed by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) on Friday, was -

That on each sitting day, unless otherwise ordered, Government business shall take precedence of general business.

The honorable member for Macquarie then moved an amendment as follows: -

That all the words after " That " be left out with a view to inserting in lieu thereof the following: -

On each day save one, unless otherwise ordered, Government business shall take precedence of general business, and that there shall be an additional sitting day on Tuesday of each week.

The amendment haying been seconded, I ruled it out of order on the ground that it was not relevant to the motion (standing order 130), the main purpose of which was to give Government business precedence over general business on each or every day of sitting, irrespective of the number of sittings, which was not. mentioned in the motion. The words " save one " were not relevant to the motion, being a direct negative, and a negativing of the motion would have had the same effect as if the amendment had been approved. The proposal to increase the number of sitting days, incorporated, as it was, with the proviso that one day should be savedfor general business, would, in effect, have defeated the main principle of the motion, namely, that of securing priority for Government business over general business, irrespective of the number of sittings. Any proposal to increase the number of sittings should form the subject of a separate motion. It is the usual practice for the Government only to propose such a motion; but, of course, I do not suggest that it would be incompetent or out of order for any private member to do so upon motion after notice. My interpretation of the standing order was, and is, that the words "save one" were not relative to the motion, being a direct negative of it, and the proposal to add other words increasing the number of sittings was not in order, because the motion made no reference to the number of sittings. Upon a question analagous to this, there has been a decision by Mr. Speaker Holder. In Vol. VII. of Hansard of the 1901-2 session, it is recorded that a motion had been submitted -

That the House, at its rising to-day, adjourn until Tuesday next.

In the course of a long discussion -

Mr. SYDNEYSMITH said We shall have another opportunity to discuss it, because the House has already carried a motion making Monday a sitting day.

Mr.SPEAKER. - The general question of sitting on Monday is not before the Chair. The question is whether we shall sit next Monday.

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