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Friday, 15 May 1970


Mr SCHOLES (Corio) - The motion that the Speaker's ruling be dissented from is, as has been stated, a very serious one. In this case it is a motion which has to be carried by this House for the protection of this House. Your ruling, Sir, that the amendment is acceptable, if continued as a precedent, will provide governments with an out every time there is a censure motion before the Chair. They will be able to produce an amendment of any description, substitute it for the censure motion, and prevent the Parliament from voting on the censure motion which is before it. I shall read the first portion of the amendment which was moved this morning by the honourable member for Dawson (Dr

Patterson), and I would hope, Mr Speaker, that you would take note of it. It states: and that the Prime Minister and his Cabinet lack the confidence of the House because they failed to honour a commitment made to the States . . .

Now 1 shall read the first portion of the amendment which was moved by the "honourable member for Casey (Mr Howson), lt states: that this House does not believe thai there has been any failure on the part of the Government to honour any commitments.

That is a direct negative of the first portion of the amendment moved by the honourable member for Dawson. There could not be any clearer negative, lt is a negative in actual words. The first portion of one amendment quite clearly states that the Go- vernment has failed to honour a commitment, and the first portion of the other amendment states that the Government has not failed to honour a commitment. If your ; ruling is upheld, Sir,it will mean that this House will have 2 amend nients before it - one totally negating the Other.

The second point is that the proposition contained in the amendment moved by the "honourable member for Dawson would vindicate what the honourable member for Farrer (Mr Fairbairn) has said and it would indicate that this House believes that the honourable member for Farrer. acted in a proper manner and did hi fact give to the States undertakings which have not bean honoured. The amendment moved by the honourable member for Casey to the initial amendment, if carried, would in fact indicate to this House and to the public at large that the honourable member for Farrer did not know what he was talking about. I am interested to know how those people who support the honourable member for Farrer can now propose an amendment which indicates that the Government acted properly and that in fact the honourable member for Farrer acted improperly. I would hope that you, Mr Speaker, would consider that point. I would also hope that some of the hyenas opposite would keep quiet so that I can talk. On the basis of the first portions of both amendments I submit that under no rules of debate or any precedents that have been established in any democratic institution can the amendment moved by the honourable member for Casey be accepted as a proper amendment to the initial amendment moved by the honourable member for Dawson. 1 shall repeat the first portions of the 2 amendments because I think that they are of paramount importance to the dissent motion. I believe that those honourable members opposite who wish this House to continue as a House of Parliament operating in a democracy in a democratic way should take note of what is contained in the first portions of the 2 amendments. The amendment moved by the honourable member for Dawson states that the following words be added to the motion that the House take note of the paper: and 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. . . .

The first portion of the amendment moved by the honourable member for Casey states: that this House does not believe that there has been any failure on the purl of the Government to honour any commitments. 1 submit that those portions of the amendments are direct negatives. I submit, Mr Speaker, that even at this late stage you should withdraw your ruling and obviate the necessity for mis House to continue with the motion of dissent from your ruling which, if carried, I think would be a tragedy for this House. If you do not reverse your ruling and if the House does not carry the dissent motion, I can only suggest that politics have overridden democracy in this House.







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