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Thursday, 5 April 1973
Page: 1130


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


Mr SNEDDEN - Today the Prime Minister returned to a vilification that he made the other day in which he volunteered that the previous Government had lied in its communication from government to government. The Prime Minister volunteered that Not a single piece of evidence did he produce to justify that. Indeed, he hides behind national security not to produce that document which his own

Attorney-General (Senator Murphy) has described as a bland interim report. In order not to have rammed home the lie that the Prime Minister in fact perpetrated by describing the communication as a lie, he hides behind national security not to produce evidence. Furthermore-


Dr Everingham - Mr Speaker, I take a point of order.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The question before the Chair is whether the word ashamed' is unparliamentary.

Or Everingham - My point of order is that the Leader of the Opposition imputed motives in using the term 'lie' of the Prime Minister. It is quite in order to say that a person has told an untruth. It is quite out of order to say that that untruth is deliberate because that imputes motives to a member of this House. I therefore ask that the word 'lie' be withdrawn.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I would like to point out of the Leader of the Opposition that the question is whether the word ashamed' is unparliamentary. The matter relating to what the Prime Minister did with ASIO has nothing at all to do with the question before the Chair


Mr SNEDDEN - I will continue, Mr Speaker. The statement which you have ruled is unparliamentary was that the Prime Minister should be ashamed of. himself. If there can be no opportunity to explain the context of it, how can we have a Parliament? Open government died in this Parliament last week. Do not let democracy die in this Parliament today. The Prime Minister was able to say in answer to a question that the previous Government lied, because it is not unparliamentary to use that term in relation to a group. He took advantage of that. Today the Prime Minister, as he has done on previous occasions, having made his brave statement started to withdraw from it. We know that he said one day that there was a conspiracy. The next day he was not sure whether there was a conspiracy. Today he said there was not.


Mr Enderby - Mr Speaker, I take a point of order. May I take the opportunity to repeat what honourable members heard you say, namely that the issue is whether the Prime Minister should be ashamed of himself. What the Leader of the Opposition is talking about is completely irrelevant. He is seeking to canvass something that is not before the Chair.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I realise that in a position like this the Leader of the Opposition should be afforded some latitude in making his point.


Mr SNEDDEN - I want to contrast the statement that the Prime Minister should be ashamed of himself with 2 statements made by the Prime Minister during the course of what has happened here today. The Prime Minister sat there while we were debating whether the right honourable member for Higgins should be suspended from the service of the House for saying that the Prime Minister should be ashamed of himself. The Prime Minister said of the right honourable member for Higgins: 'Nobody else takes him seriously, Mr Speaker. You should not either.' Is that not more offensive than the remark of which the right honourable gentlemen was accused? Then when a colleague of mine who has served this Parliament for more than 2 decades took a point of order the Prime Minister said, in the way which has led people to characterise him as feline and vicious-


Mr Keating - I take a. point, of order, Mr Speaker. Is not the motion before the House that the Speaker's ruling be disagreed with and not whether the word 'ashamed' is unparliamentary? If the question is that the Speaker's ruling be disagreed with, should not the Leader of the Opposition be alluding to decisions of previous Speakers and not to the words of the Prime Minister? The Prime Minister is not present in the chamber.


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


Mr SNEDDEN - The honourable member for Blaxland interrupted before I was able to say the words ; used by the Prime Minister this morning in relation to the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth). He said: 'You should not name him but certify him'. The Prime Minister well knew that that was offensive and he intended, it to be so. Then a point was taken. The Prime Minister, intending it to be offensive, knowing that it would be broadcast and trying to get a laugh from those people sitting behind him, then got up and said: 'I withdraw it.' Without any shadow of doubt, he intended the insult and then he did not have the courage .to go on with what he intended. He then withdrew, knowing that the point was made. The honourable member, for Blaxland has just interjected, taken a point of order or used some extraordinary process and said that I should be talking about words. Well I will talk about some words. I refer honourable members to page 434 of May's 'Parliamentary Practice'. It is quite clear that I can not call the honourable member a cheeky young pup because that would be unparliamentary. I can not call any of the honourable gentlemen on the other side of the House a series of words. I will not run through them because I do not want to make any imputations.


Mr Hurford - Would I be in order in calling you a big ham?


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


Mr Hurford - I withdraw it.


Mr SNEDDEN - The honourable gentleman has never recovered since he campaigned for the ministry and failed abysmally on the judgment of his colleagues. I will not read out these particular words because it might be thought that I meant them about some gentlemen on the other side. In the Senate the President - your colleague, your co-chairman of parliamentary committees and of international parliamentary committees, your cochairman on the Joint House Committee - permitted Senator Murphy to call my colleague, Senator Greenwood, a protector of terrorists. Of course, the charge has been completely dismissed but it was not ruled unparliamentary.


Mr SPEAKER - Order! I have allowed the right honourable gentleman quite a lot of latitude, but the decisions of the Senate have nothing to do with the Chair of. the House of Representatives. In addition I remind him that the question is whether my ruling that the word 'ashamed' is unparliamentary is correct.


Mr SNEDDEN - Mr Speaker,do I understand you by some manner of means to be saying that what occurs in the Senate is irrelevant to the considerations of this House? You might just as well say that what occurs in the House of Commons is irrelevant.


Mr Keogh - A point of order, Mr Speaker-


Mr SPEAKER - Order! The question before the Chair is whether the word is unparliamentary or parliamentary. The Chair has ruled that it is unparliamentary. That is the decision of the Chair. We are now discussing the motion of dissent.


Mr Keogh - A point of order-


Mr SNEDDEN - Those are precisely the matters about which I am speaking.


Mr Keogh - A point of order-


Mr SPEAKER - Order! The. Chair is competent to make any decision as to what it thinks is parliamentary or unparliamentary.


Mr Keogh - I submit that, in terms of standing order 72, the right honourable gentleman is contravening that standing order in alluding to proceedings currently under debate in the other chamber.


Mr SPEAKER - Order! He is not alluding to proceedings; he is alluding to an incident that occurred in that House.


Mr Martin - I take a point of order. I would like you Mr Speaker, to refer the Leader of the Opposition to the standing order under which you acted. I refer to standing order 303 (c). It states:

If any Member has . . . used objectionable words, which he has refused to withdraw;

I suggest that you draw the attention of the Leader of the Opposition to the fact that the standing order refers to objectionable words.


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


Mr SNEDDEN - The proceedings in this House must, for the purpose of deciding whether something is parliamentary, be such that the House is capable of receiving information as to what is regarded as parliamentary in the Senate. I have drawn attention to what Senator Greenwood said of Senator Murphy. Senator Greenwood said of Senator Murphy that not only was his statement improperly based but that it was dishonestly presented. He said:

It is a biased and selected presentation of facts.

He said that the Attorney-General has disgraced his office. That was parliamentary in the Senate. If you really want to know some things that are not parliamentary I will remind you of a couple of them. I think it is an appropriate time to remind the House of a couple of things that were unparliamentary. There was a jug of water and glasses on the table.


Mr Enderby - I rise on a point of order.


Mr McLeay - You cannot take it.


Mr Enderby - I will take it; I will give it out too.


Mr SPEAKER - Order! If the House does not come to order I will leave the chair.


Mr Enderby - The Leader of the Opposition keeps using the word 'parliamentary' and it has been used in this debate, if it could be called that, for some time. May I remind the House that the relevant standing order is standing order 303 and it states:

If any Member has . . . used objectionable words,

You, Mr Speaker, have made a ruling and the Leader of the Opposition seeks to challenge that ruling by moving dissent from it. The only issue here is whether the words that the Prime Minister should be ashamed of himself are objectionable words. What water has to do with that heaven only knows.


Mr SNEDDEN - As I pointed out, May's Parliamentary Practice' at page 434 gives a list of words which have been held to be Unparliamentary. What I am saying is that not in the House of Commons but in this House there have been other occasions which were unparliamentary, for example, when a certain honourable member walked around the end of the table and got a glass of water.


Mr ARMITAGE (CHIFLEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I rise on a point of order. Mr Speaker, I submit that now and right through his address the Leader of the Opposition has been dealing with matters not connected with the question before the Chair.


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


Mr SNEDDEN - There was another occasion when an honourable member in this chamber called another honourable member a bumptious bastard. Quite clearly that is unparliamentary.


Mr Enderby - A term of endearment.


Mr SNEDDEN - That is the standard of the Minister for the Capital Territory.


Mr McLeay - What did he say? I did not hear it.


Mr SNEDDEN - He said that it was a term of endearment.


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

Motion (by Mr Lynch) put:

That the Leader of the Opposition be granted an extension of time.







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