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Tuesday, 22 September 1942


Sir GEORGE BELL (Darwin) . - I was not present this morning when the point of order to which the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) has referred was raised; therefore I may not be quite familiar with the exact point in dispute. However, my own view of the Standing Orders, as distinct from the general practice, is that the Treasurer has the right to speak a second time. That is exactly what the right honorable member for Cowper wishes. I understand that the question that arose this morning was whether in speaking a second time, the Treasurer would close the debate. That is another matter. My view is that he would not close the debate.


Mr Makin - It must be remembered that the discussion was not upon the Estimates for the Department of the Treasury. The matter under consideration was the first item of the Estimates.

Sit GEORGE BELL. - I realize that. There, the question of practice has to be considered. In my opinion the Standing Orders, if interpreted strictly, give the Treasurer the right to speak a second time, but in speaking a second time he would close the debate. This question has arisen before in this chamber. In 1929 the then Prime Minister, Mr. S. M. Bruce, claimed the right to speak a second time in the course of a similar debate. My view was that he had the right to do so, but the question which then arose was whether in speaking a second time he did or did not close the debate. That is the only point at issue so far as I can understand the Standing Orders. The practice in this Parliament in discussing the 'first item of the Estimates has been to permit a general debate, as if on a substantive motion, and for the Treasurer to speak in reply, but the Standing Orders do not specify that. Therefore my view is that what has .been requested by the right honorable member for Cowper is strictly in accord with the Standing Orders.







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