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Friday, 6 August 1920

Mr MATHEWS (Melbourne Ports) .- I move -

That Mr. Deputy Speaker's ruling - That the Industrial Peace Bill is properly before the House for discussion - be dissented from.

This is not a party question : as a matter of fact, I do not expect a vote from this side of the House, while I claim every vote on the other side. I have been a member of this Chamber for fourteen years, and I have never before objected to a Speaker's ruling. My experience has shown me that if we keep to the Standing Orders in the conduct of debate, we are on sound lines, whereas, if we leave the Standing Orders and base our procedure on alleged established precedent, or partly established precedent, we find ourselves on dangerous ground. The Industrial Peace Bill is one that very much concerns Australia, and I am sorry to have to take an objection of this kind on such a measure. I might, however, have to wait a long time, or create an opportunity, to show how dangerous it is - though I might use stronger language - to accept by a party vote the ruling of the Speaker or Deputy Speaker, merely on some precedent that may have been established at some time or other, without considering the effects it may have on future developments here. As to the Jerger case, to which the Deputy Speaker has alluded, the peculiar point is that a discussion was allowed on it in another place, though it was ruled out of order here. On that occasion, when I was addressing the Chamber on the Jerger case, the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) objected to my continuing.

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