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Friday, 15 May 1970


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The Opposition has been asked to say that this House knows, firstly, what made the honourable member for Farrer (Mr Fairbairn) feel justified in believing that the Government had broken its commitment. How on earth can anybody present be able to say that we know what made the honourable member feel that he was justified in taking the action that he has taken? If I may while there is silence I want to deal with the main gravamen of the reasons for dissent against your ruling, Mr Speaker. Like the previous speaker it hurts me to have to do this. I do not relish it and' I do not get pleasure from doing this but the amendment moved by the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) is that we censure the Government 'because they failed to honour a commitment made to the States by the previous Minister for National Development'. However, the later amendment which cannot be a negative says:

This House does not believe that there has been any failure on the part of the Government to honour any commitments.

The wording was 'its agreement' but on second thoughts that was crossed out and changed to read 'any commitments' to make the second amendment correspond even more closely with the verbiage of the first amendment. The first amendment was very carefully worded as 'honour a commitment'. The second amendment would have us say that the House is of opinion that there has not been any failure on the part of the Government to honour any commitments.

If this is not a direct negative of the first amendment then I do not know what a direct negative is. It would not matter where one went or what sort of meeting one attended, be it a meeting of a tennis club or any other organisation, the most inexperienced chairman in the world would know that a direct negative is not permitted as an amendment to a proposition. Almost automatically by reflex action he would reject the proposition, as should be the case with the proposition which is now put to this Parliament. I think that it is a great tragedy that this Parliament has drifted into the position in which it is now put where the highest officer in the Parliament is forced to - I do not blame you, Sir, for I know your position and you have to get your pre-selection and all those things fixed up-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member will not reflect upon the Chair.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I sympathise with you, Sir. I know what your problems are. We all have our problems but none of us has the same sort of problems as you have at the moment.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member may not cast aspersions on the Chair.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I was not casting aspersions; I was trying to excuse your actions.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I can assure the honourable member that no excuses are necessary and I remind him of what I said a moment ago.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - What I am concerned about is that an amendment has been proposed to the motion that was moved by the Leader of the House. Then at the very last minute, after frantic hours of trying to reach agreement, with the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr McEwen) rushing all around and, I understand, missing his lunch - and missing Trudeau - Mr Eggleton had to deputise for the Prime

Minister to meet Mr Trudeau on his arrival at Brisbane. Mr Peacock, who has some portfolio - I think he is the Minister for the Army - was to go there with his good wife to entertain. All those important arrangements-


Mr Uren - Mr Speaker, I direct your attention to the time - the hour at which it is customary to suspend the sitting.


Mr SPEAKER - The time is now 6 o'clock.


Mr Daly - Oh no, Mr Speaker--


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The Leader of the Government in the House is on his feet.


Mr Daly - So are you, Sir.


Mr SPEAKER - I have not yet heard what he has to say.


Mr Snedden - As I understand the Standing Orders, Mr Speaker, they do not require Mr Speaker to vacate the chair at 6 o'clock, they leave the matter in the discretion of Mr Speaker. I would like to indicate to you, Sir, that the Government has no intention of conducting any business other than disposing of this question. I therefore ask you, would you continue the sitting so that an issue of confidence against the Government can be resolved as soon as possible and also to meet the convenience of so many honourable members who wish to return to their families?


Mr SPEAKER - What is the wish of the Opposition?


Mr Whitlam - The Leader of the House has said that there is a matter of confidence before the House. As I understand it, the Leader of the House is in fact supporting an amendment which will displace the motion of no confidence. While the Prime Minister, 7 hours ago, accepted our motion as one of no confidence-


Mr SPEAKER - Order! I would suggest to the Leader of the Opposition that he answer the question whether the House should suspend at 6 o'clock. It is not a debate on the whole issue.


Mr Whitlam - In that case I would suggest that since the Ministry is now running away from the question of confidence it cannot plead that the House would in fact be determining a matter of confidence and therefore should remain in session after 6 o'clock. I would submit that you ought to follow the normal practice of suspending at 6 o'clock until 8 o'clock.


Mr SPEAKER -The chair will be resumed at 8 p.m.

Sitting suspended from 6.3 to 8 p.m.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Mr Speaker,before the sitting was suspended for dinner I was referring to the second amendment, which was moved by the honourable member for Casey (Mr Howson), and which stated in part:

.   . that this House does not_believe that there has been any failure on the part of the Government to honour any commitments.

I said that that was in contradiction of the first amendment which stated in part: . . that the Prime Minister and his Cabinet lack the confidence of the House because they failed to honour a commitment made to the States by the previous Minister for National Development . . .

Sir, thesituation is that the first amendment means that we believe that the Government should be thrown out because it failed to honour a commitment made to the States'. I have used the exact words used in the amendment. Then there is the second amendment which states, I repeat, that this House does not believe that there has been any failure on the part of the Government to honour any commitments'. Surely, upon reflection, you must see that this is a contradiction of the first amendment. I would have thought that the contradiction becomes even more transparent when one reads further the verbiage of the second amendment and comes to the acknowledgment which the mover asks the House to accept. The wording is: . . that when the Government decided to change its policy on OS-Shore authority by legislating to take control from the low-water mark to Continental Shelf, the Government did not, at that time, inform the States of this change in the policy . . .

Prima facie, the second amendment admits that there has been a change of policy.

Sir, Iinvite the attention of the House to this point: What was the change of policy if it was not what the honourable member for Farrer said it was? Then we must consider the absurd conclusion of the second amendment-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! There is far too much noise in the chamber.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I think that if the Postmaster-General (Mr Hulme) would raise his point of order, if he has one, instead of trying to get the Attorney-General (Mr Hughes) to make a fool of himself, we would get on a lot better.


Mr Hulme - Mr Speaker, I am delighted to oblige the honourable member for Hindmarsh. I thought he had moved dissent from your ruling. I take the point of order that he is not speaking to the motion that your ruling be dissented from. In fact he is dealing with the original amendment and the subsequent amendment. He is debating both those amendments and is not dealing with the question of dissent from your ruling.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I think the honourable member for Hindmarsh is showing some relevancy to the subject matter.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Thank you, Mr Speaker, for that wise ruling. It seems rather odd that a Speaker who is so wise on most occasions can occasionally lapse into this fault of not being able to see the difference between an affirmative motion and the negative of it. This is the thing which amazes me, Sir. I know how sage and wise you are on most occasions but here we have this inexplicable lapse on your part - a lapse I cannot account for because you are not a silly person. You do not look stupid. In my experience you have never behaved as though you had not your fair share of brain power. It seems to me extraordinary that you cannot see that the second amendment is a direct negative of the first amendment. This is no reflection on you, Sir, but the most stupid chairman of any kindergarten club would be able to see that my argument is valid.


Mr SPEAKER -I would suggest to the honourable member that he should not cast any reflection upon the Chair.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I apologise, Sir. I did not mean any reflection on you. But anybody, even one with a fourth form mentality, or even one in the fourth form, to use the expression we heard from the exGeelong Grammar School prefect, would know that my argument is correct. I cannot understand why it is that the 2 ex-Geelong Grammar School boys are not able to see-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I suggest to the honourable member that he come back to the point of order he raised and debate it with a proper sense of the rules.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Yes. There is another part of the second amendment which I think makes it painfully clear that the second amendment is in direct conflict with the first. It is certainly out of order because it introduces entirely new matter. This is a point upon which we have had numerous rulings in the past. The second amendment continues in this fashion: That the House 'is of the opinion that it is this fact which has led to the Honourable Member for Farrer feeling justified' -


Mr Hughes - Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. The honourable member for Hindmarsh, knowing that he is beaten, is circumnavigating the globe of irrelevancy and is not addressing himself to the question of dissent from your ruling. He is making a monkey of the House-


Mr SPEAKER - Order! I would remind all honourable gentlemen that throughout the day this debate has proceeded on a very high standard. It involves a very important matter. I would suggest that honourable members come to order and that they remember where they are. As members of the Commonwealth Parliament they are expected to behave as mature men. I would suggest that the House come to order.


Mr Daly - I rise to a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Attorney-General (Mr Hughes) said that the honourable member for Hindmarsh was making a monkey of the House. Mr Speaker, that implied that you were responsible for making a monkey out of it. I think the Attorney-General should be asked to withdraw that remark.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member will resume his seat.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I wish the Attorney-General would stop looking up at the Press gallery and showing off.


Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honourable member for Newcastle wishes to raise a point of order.


Mr Charles Jones - Mr Speaker, the point of order concerns the remark of the Attorney-General. His remark constituted a reflection upon honourable members of this House and upon you, as one of the honourable members present. I consider it a reflection on you. You do not look a monkey and I ask that the remark of the Attorney-General be withdrawn.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I suggest that frivolous points of order should not be taken. I suggest that the honourable member for Newcastle should think carefully about the action that he is taking.


Mr Uren - Mr Speaker, with due respect to the Chair, I-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! Is the honourable member for Reid taking a point of order?


Mr Uren - I take a further point of order. Without elaborating on what the AttorneyGeneral said, I think that his remark was a reflection on the House. I believe his remark should be withdrawn. That is my point of order.


Mr SPEAKER - There is no substance in the point of order.


Mr Uren - Mr Speaker-


Mr SPEAKER - Is the honourable member taking another point of order?


Mr Uren - Further to my point of order, Mr Speaker, I am seeking decorum in this chamber. I have not repeated what the Attorney-General said but I think that a Minister of the Crown is wrong in making such a statement about this House. It degrades the House. I believe that you, as Speaker of this chamber, should call for the Attorney-General to withdraw his remarks because they are a reflection not only upon you but also on all other honourable members.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The Chair has the sole responsibility for deciding these things and I do not believe that that phrase warrants a withdrawal at this stage. I call the honourable member for Hindmarsh.

Motion (by Mr Snedden) proposed:

That the question be now put.


Mr SPEAKER -The honourable member for Hindmarsh may continue. The motion "That the question be now put' may not be moved before the honourable member who has seconded the motion being discussed has spoken.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Are you ruling that the motion 'That the question be now put' is out of order?


Mr SPEAKER - Yes. I am giving you permission to continue.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Thank you, Sir. That wise ruling again makes it more difficult for me to understand the first ruling. As I said before, it absolutely amazes me that a person of your great wisdom on so many occasions - this recent decision is a further example of it - could not see what must surely be obvious to anybody who can read and that even a person with a fourth form educational standard could understand.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I warn the honourable member for Hindmarsh. I have requested him on a couple of occasions to make his remarks temperate on the question before the Chair. I suggest that he do so.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Sir, Iam doing my best to be temperate and to put the point clearly. I am being aggravated by the frightened people on the other side of the House.


Mr SPEAKER - I suggest to the honourable member for Hindmarsh that he come back to the motion that the Speaker's ruling be dissented from.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I would like to examine the motives of those who were responsible for the amendments. I shall read them again: that this House does not believe that there has been any failure on the part of the Government to honour any commitments.

Where does the honourable member for Farrer stand now on that question? Surely he cannot agree with that. Surely the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns) cannot agree with that. If he votes for that because he fears that if there is a general election there will be a Labor Government in office, surely that is not sufficient justification for it. Then the amendment goes on to say:

The House acknowledges that when the Government decided to change its policy . . . the Government did not . . . inform the States. . . .

This is the very objection that the honourable member for Farrer has been taking. This is all that he has ever said - that the Government changed the policy without having the decency to tell the States about it. Now we are being asked in this Parliament to reject an amendment which complains about that very thing. The amendment complains that the Government has done precisely what the Government, in the second paragraph of the second amendment, admits and confesses to doing. Sir, I ask that you reconsider your decision in this matter. In order that you may have plenty of opportunity to do so and so that you may make your decision in the calmness of the quietness that now exists I resume my seat in the confident hope that you will announce that the second amendment is out of order and that you will allow the debate to continue on the first amendment.


Mr Barnard - Mr Speaker, I wish to raise a point of order.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The question is that my ruling be dissented from.


Mr Barnard - I think I should be entitled to state my point of order. I moved the motion of dissent. I was speaking to the motion of dissent when the Leader of the House (Mr Snedden) moved that the question be now put. In view of the fact that I sat down to enable you to give your ruling, I submit that I should have been called to speak again to the motion, but you decided to let the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) proceed as the seconder of the motion.


Mr SPEAKER -The honourable member should have risen at the time. If he did rise I did not see him. It is too late now. I have allowed the honourable member for Hindmarsh to deliver his speech.


Mr Snedden - We would be quite happy on this side of the House for the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to continue.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! It is not a question of your side of the House being happy. The honourable member for Bass did propose the question and was speaking to it, and he did resume his seat hi accordance with the Standing Orders, but he did not rise again.


Mr Barnard - With due respect to your ruling, Sir, I submit that you should have called me when you had made your decision not to proceed with the motion proposed by the Leader of the House.


Mr SPEAKER -It is the duty of the Chair to call the honourable member who rises and you were not rising at the time.







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