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Wednesday, 4 August 1954

Mr DAVIDSON (Dawson) .- As the mover of the motion for the appointment of the honorable member for Fisher (Mr. Adermann) as Chairman of Committees, I welcome the opportunity that the remarks of the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Edmonds) has provided for me to mention to the House some of the qualifications possessed by the honorable member for Fisher that fit him eminently for the position of Chairman of Committees. This is the third occasion on which the honorable member for Fisher has been nominated for that post; and I have no doubt that it will be the third occasion on which he will be elected to that position. That fact in itself is an indication of the appreciation of honorable members of the qualities which he has in the past brought to his task as Chairman of Committees. The honorable member for Herbert voiced disapproval of some of the actions that were taken by the honorable member for Fisher in his capacity as Chairman of Committees. Honorable members generally are highly appreciative of the work that the honorable member for Fisher has performed in that office, but it is inevitable that individual honorable members, like the honorable member for Herbert, should disapprove of some of the Chairman's actions. However, every honorable member who has had any experience whatsoever of duties of a judicial nature, such as those that devolve upon the 'Chairman -of .Committees, recognizes that that post calls for the application of the principles of impartiality and firmness and a determination to preserve basic dignity. Inevitably, some honorable members to whom such principles are applied by the Chairman will disapprove of the treatment that they receive. At the same time, it is .self-evident that on such occasions the .fault lies, not with the parson administering the Standing Orders, but with the honorable members who transgress them. Therefore, when exception is taken to -the application of these principles, the critics should first look to their own actions and bring their conduct into line with the dignity of the Parliament. If the critics took that advice they would have no need to criticize the Chairman of Committees for carrying out the duties of his office.

The honorable member for Fisher has invariably brought to his task as Chairman of Committees all the qualities for which he has been noted since he was elected to this chamber and which were responsible for his nomination originally for election to the post of Chairman of Committees. I refer to the high principles by which he has always been actuated in his activities on behalf of those whom he represents in the Parliament, particularly his qualities of moderation and fairness which he has invariably displayed both in debate and in his administration of the Standing Orders. One quality for which he has always been noted and which 'he has demonstrated time and time again while he has been a member of this House is his innate gentlemanliness. I suggest that his critics could well emulate his conduct in that respect.

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