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Tuesday, 22 March 1966


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The motion is that the Deputy Speaker's ruling be disagreed with. Is the motion seconded?


Mr Whitlam - I second the motion.


Mr DALY - In the course of his speech a few moments ago the honorable member for Bennelong (Sir John Cramer) said that some members of the Labour Party would not care if Asia were overrun by Communism and if Communism were a powerful and influential force in this country. I took exception to that in accordance with the Standing Orders, which state that if any reflection is made upon a member which he considers to be personally objectionable it must be withdrawn on the request of the member concerned. I asked for that to be done under Standing Orders. You have ruled against that - I believe, most unjustly and unfairly. In view of what I consider to be your complete neglect to administer the Standing Orders in accordance with the terms of the Standing Orders there is no alternative left to me but to move dissent from your ruling. The position, in accordance with your ruling. Mr. Deputy Speaker, now is that any honorable member on the Government side can call members on this side of the Parliament Communists or anything of that nature. If I were to refer to honorable members opposite as Fascists, as most of them are, you would not ask for the remark to be withdrawn. Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, in applying your ruling, from now on if we on this side name the honorable member for Bennelong, the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) or the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Hughes) as Fascists in this Parliament, which undoubtedly they are, you will have no right to ask for the withdrawal of the remark and they will have no right to object. If you are going to continue to allow us to be described as Communists, let me refer again to those honorable members opposite whom I mentioned as members of Fascists organisations. As such they are opposed to good order and discipline, and law and order in this country. Members on this side of the Parliament have been responsible for saving this country from Communism and other enemies in the past, and it is most objectionable to us to be referred to as collaborators with the Communist Party.


Dr Mackay - I rise to order. The statement by the honorable member for Benelong was a generalisation. He referred to " some members " without mentioning names.


Mr Curtin - The honorable member for Evans was not in the House.


Dr Mackay - I was in the House, and I heard every word of it. The honorable member has only just come in. As I have said, the honorable member for Bennelong did not mention names. But the honorable member for Grayndler has just named certain members on this side of the House, calling them Fascists. 1 believe that the point is well taken that in the first case no libel would be involved were the statement not made under the privilege of this House whereas libel would definitely be involved in the second case. I believe there is no analogy.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! There is no substance in the point raised by the honorable member.


Mr DALY - At least on this occasion I congratulate you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, on your wisdom in ruling out a point of order of that type. In support of my argument I submit that if you refer to Standing Orders Nos. 74, 75, 76 and 77 you will find that every one of them covers the objection I have taken to the words used by the honorable member for Bennelong a few moments ago. I submit that if you allow a member on the Government side to say that members on this side of the House are

Communists or Communist supporters you are not only lowering the dignity of Parliament but you are opening the way to abuses that were never contemplated by the Standing Orders of this Parliament.

I can understand the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) making the remarks that he did. Nobody expects anything different from him, but I expected the honorable member for Bennelong, as an officer and a gentleman, as it were, to stand up in his place and withdraw this imputation. I could not allow the occasion to pass without taking the point that I did. It is with great regret that I move dissent from your ruling, but this must have been the first occasion in this Parliament when words said to be personally offensive to members have not been withdrawn when an objection was taken to them.

The honorable member for Mackellar added fuel to the flames when he referred to " Viet Cairns ", or something to that effect. That was a most contemptible remark by the honorable member for Mackellar and it was in keeping with the Fascist approach he has to everything in this country. Without any reservation tonight I name the honorable member for Mackellar as a Fascist in this Parliament.


Mr Wentworth - Mr. Deputy Speaker, I ask for that remark to be withdrawn.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member tor Grayndler will withdraw the word " Fascist " as it is offensive. The ruling I gave was that the statement made by the honorable member for Bennelong was a generalisation. I said that it was not the duty of the Chair to sift facts from fiction and fancy; otherwise the business of the House or the Committee would never progress. The honorable member for Grayndler has now made a pointed remark about the honorable member for Mackellar. He called the honorable member for Mackellar a Fascist and I ask him to withdraw that term.


Sir John Cramer - I ask also that the charge against me be withdrawn.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! I shall deal with one point of order at a time. The honorable member for Grayndler will withdraw the remark that the honorable member for Mackellar is a Fascist.


Mr Daly - I withdraw the remark that the honorable member is a Fascist, but I say that honorable members opposite are Fascist sympathisers. I speak of them collectively and, I believe, reasonably and justly. Under the ruling you have just given to the House they cannot ask for the term to be withdrawn. Let us have a look at the position. On the Government side there are Fascist sympathisers, and on this side there are democrats and Australians. The people can take their pick. You can see, from what I am doing now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that you got yourself into a devil of a mess by giving the ruling from which I am moving dissent.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member will withdraw that reflection on the Chair.


Mr Daly - I will certainly do so, but 1 thought I might point out to you the difficulties that arise-


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member will withdraw that remark as it is a reflection on the Chair.


Mr Daly - I withdraw the remark, but I point out the difficulties that the House gets into when the person in the Chair hardly knows the Standing Orders or will not interpret them correctly.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member will wihdraw that remark and apologise to the Chair.


Mr Daly - I withdraw the remark and apologise to the Chair. I am afraid my enthusiasm got the better of me. 1 conclude on this note: You have given a ruling which we on this side consider to be most unfair. It is a ruling that we say cannot be substantiated by the Standing Orders. For the first time after more than 20 years in this Parliament, I have seen tonight the occupant of the Chair refusing to ask members on the Government side to withdraw personal insinuations against members on this side of the Parliament after being prepared to make me withdraw an allegation against a member on the Government side of the Parliament. People listening to the debate tonight and those who are in the Parliament can form their own judgment. There is one law for the Government and another for the Opposition. It is for that reason that I move the motion of dissent from your ruling, and I hope it is carried.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The honorable member has twice reflected on the Chair. I shall not warn him again. I ask him to apologise on this occasion but if he offends again I will name him.


Mr Daly - I apologise to the Chair, and I have finished my speech.







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