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Wednesday, 4 August 1954


Mr BRYSON (Wills) .- Having listened to the flights of fancy of the honorable member for Dawson (Mr. Davidson) t suggest that the House should get down to facts. The position of Chairman of Committees is second only in importance to that of the Speaker because, sir, if you have not an efficient deputy the business 'of this House cannot be conducted in a proper manner. During the two preceding Parliaments in which the honorable member for Fisher (Mr. Adermann) occupied the post of Chairman of Committees, the business >of the committee was not carried out in the way in which it should have been. On many occasions, the honorable member completely lost control of proceedings in this chamber; and the dignity of this assembly suffered accordingly. The honorable member for Dawson did not say that the honorable member for Fisher is conversant with the Standing Orders. [ do not say that the honorable member tor Fisher is completely lacking in knowledge of the Standing Orders; but I say definitely that he is incapable of applying them. He has shown conclusively time after time that while he has occupied the chair he has been incapable of acting without bias. On every occasion on which a debate of a party political nature took place while he was in the chair, he invariably adopted a partisan attitude. He refused to permit members of the Opposition to criticize members of the Australian Country party or the utterances, or actions, of members of that party. The Standing Orders were in no respect designed to prevent honorable members of one party from criticizing honorable members of another party. On a number of occasions, the honorable member for Fisher, while he occupied the chair in committee, prevented me from criticizing policies of the Australian Country party or individual members of the Liberal party, not because my criticism offended against the Standing Orders, but simply because he disagreed with views that I expressed. On such occasions, the honorable member for Fisher acted, as the honorable member for Dawson has said, with firmness in that he prevented me from expressing mv opinions. On one occasion, when I endeavoured to vindicate my right -as an honorable member, be ordered me to leave the chamber, ostensibly under Standing Order 303. That standing order was adopted at a comparatively recent date. Why was it included in the Standing Orders? The interpretation of Standing Order 303 by the Chairman of Committees has been entirely different from the intention of those honorable members who drafted it. Indeed, Standing Order 303 has been used to protect members of the Australian Country party and the Chairman *>f Committees from criticism.

Ibelievethatthe honorable member for Kingston, whose nomination for the office of Chairman of Committees I am supporting, hasa sound knowledge of the Standing Orders, and can interpret them wisely. He has had experience of the control of meetings of various kinds, and has shownthat he can control a meeting in accordance with the rules of the organization concerned. I am jealous of the high standing and dignity of this House, and I believe that we must have in control of our proceedings officers who can uphold that dignity. But I know, after more than four years' experience of the honorable member for Fisher as the Chairman of Committees, that the dignity of this chamber is disappearing.


Mr SPEAKER - Order ! The honorable member's time has expired.

Motion (by Sir Eric Harrison) put -

That the question be now put.







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