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Friday, 15 May 1970


Mr HUGHES (Berowra) (AttorneyGeneral) - I rise to support your ruling, Mr Speaker. This has been a very kaleidoscopic sort of day. We have gone from the high drama of the morning and the afternoon to this after-dinner period when the members of the Opposition are, by means of procedural devices, playing out time until they can build up their numbers to make the Government's majority when a vote is taken a little less than it otherwise would be. The plain fact is that this is a charade that is being played by the Opposition. I except from that remark the contribution to the debate that was made by the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) who has just resumed his seat. He did try to make, quite exceptionally for his side, a serious contribution which I wish to answer. It is a good thing that somebody on the Opposition side has broken away from the game-playing to attempt to deal with the substance of the matter. The only principle that ought to be taken into account is that, according to the practice of the House of Commons - that being the relevant practice, there being no standing order of this House covering the situation - an amendment should not be allowed if it is merely an expanded negative of the motion. The principle is clear. The only question is whether the amendment that is proposed by the Government is or is not an expanded negative of the motion of want of confidence which was moved by the Opposition against the Government earlier today.


Mr Cope - It means that we cannot move another one now.


Mr HUGHES - I am sorry to hear the honourable member for Sydney unwilling as always to. listen to fair debate and making stupid interjections. The honourable member for Melbourne Ports who preceded me in this debate will not particularly thank his colleague for making stupid, frivolous interjections when I am trying to deal-


Mr Cope - Mr Speaker, why do you not keep him quiet, too?


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Sydney will cease interjecting. I call the Attorney-General.


Mr Nicholls - Come on, stupid.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Bonython will withdraw that remark.


Dr J F Cairns (LALOR, VICTORIA) - Mr Speaker-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Lalor will sit down. He may make his point of order later. I have requested the honourable member for Bonython to withdraw his remark.


Mr Nicholls - I withdraw the remark.


Dr J F Cairns (LALOR, VICTORIA) - I now raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. A little while ago the Attorney-General applied exactly the same term to the honourable member for Sydney.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! That is not correct. He did not use it as a personal observation against the person concerned.


Dr J F Cairns (LALOR, VICTORIA) - He related it-


Mr SPEAKER - He may have related it but he did not make it directly.


Mr HUGHES - I would like to return to answering the only serious contribution to the debate that has been made by a member of the Opposition. That was the contribution made by my friend, the honourable member for Melbourne Ports a few moments ago. The principle that he enunciated and upon which I am prepared to debate with him is that an amendment should not be allowed if it is merely an expanded negative of the motion. The Opposition this morning moved an amendment


Dr J F Cairns (LALOR, VICTORIA) - Mr Speaker, I do not see why, in view of what the Minister has been saying, we should not have the question put at this stage.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! It is a matter for the Government. It is not in my hands at all.


Mr Hayden - Mr Speaker, any honourable member may move that the question be put, and that is what the honourable member for Lalor has done.


Mr SPEAKER - Order! He has not moved it


Dr J F Cairns (LALOR, VICTORIA) - I move:

That the question be now put.


Mr SPEAKER - Order! The question is that the question be now put. Those in favour say 'Aye', to the contrary 'No'. I think the 'Ayes' have it. Is a division required? The House will divide. (The bells having been rung and 1 member only having passed to the left of the Chair)


Mr SPEAKER -I declare the question resolved in the affirmative.


Dr Klugman - I notice, Mr Speaker, that normally you appoint tellers for the 'Ayes' and the "Noes'. It appeared to me that I was the only voter against the motion, and it seemed that you appointed no tellers.


Mr SPEAKER - Order! There was no need to appoint tellers. The question now is that the Speaker's ruling be dissented from.

Question put:

That Mr Speaker's ruling be dissented from.







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