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Wednesday, 19 September 1973
Page: 1235


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable gentleman is out of order because a point of order must be taken at the time of the incident and cannot be taken in retrospect.


Mr Wilson - Mr Deputy Speaker, it is an immediate question because during question time the honourable member for New England asked-


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable gentleman will resume his seat. The point of order will be out of order if it deals with a matter that occurred in question time.


Mr Wilson - It deals with an immediate question. I have asked the Acting Clerk whether the document tabled during question time is available to me for inspection, and I am told that it is not available. The Standing Orders give every member of this House the right to see the document tabled during question time, and I seek your ruling upon that matter. The document was tabled and subsequently


Mr Barnard - I raise a point of order.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -The Minister cannot take a point of order on a point of order. I think the honourable member for Sturt should come to his point fairly quickly because he is dealing with a matter that occurred some time ago.


Mr Wilson - Subsequent to the tabling of the document the Minister for Defence asked that the document be incorporated in Hansard. I ask for your ruling, Mr Deputy Speaker, on my claiming the right to see the tabled document at this point, which document was subsequently incorporated in Hansard following the second request from the Minister.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -The decision of the House was that the document would be incorporated in Hansard.


Mr MacKellar - And tabled.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! I have ears. I can hear, and I do not need the assistance of the honourable member for Warringah to tell me what the point of order was. I suggest that he allow me to rule on the point of order.


Mr Lynch - He is trying to be helpful.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -I do not think he is. I think he is trying to be stupid, but that is beside the point.


Mr MacKellar - Mr Deputy Speaker, I ask for that to be withdrawn.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -I withdraw the remark, but I think the honourable member would be more helpful if he remained silent. In relation to the point of order, the decision of the House was that the document be incorporated in Hansard. It is therefore freely available to members in Hansard, and that was the last decision that the House made.


Mr Gorton - On this point of order, I do not for a moment wish to go contrary to your ruling, Mr Deputy Speaker, that the decision of the House was that the document be incorporated in Hansard. It was. I suggest that the House made 2 decisions. The first was that the paper should be tabled. That I think was a clear decision of the House. It then said that we would incorporate it in Hansard. I suggest that that is so.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - No, that is not true. The House makes no decision to allow a Minister to table a document. A Minister has that right in accordance with the Standing Orders. It is not a decision of the House. It is a decision of the House to incorporate a matter in Hansard.


Mr Barnard - I take a point of order. I did indicate this morning in question time that I would ask for the document to be incorporated in Hansard. It is quite clear that that is what I said, and I think it was accepted by the Acting Clerk and by the Speaker that I did ask for it to be incorporated in Hansard; but if it would help the situation I will table the document as well.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -I think that should clear the matter up.


Mr Gorton - I raise a point of order. Certainly the document has been tabled, but I would like to get this point of procedure clarified. I was under the impression that if a Minister or a member quoted from a docu ment in the House and it was asked that that document be tabled the document was then tabled as one that was quoted from. It is not just a matter of whether a Minister has the right to table it or not. It is a matter that under the Standing Orders he should do so. I am not sure that he tabled it anyway. I think it is a different document.


Mr Wilson - I rise on a point of order. Mr Deputy Speaker, insofar as the document has been tabled, could I ask you to inspect the document to judge upon whether there is a torn edge at the top and whether the whole document quoted from by the Minister has, in accordance with the Standing Orders, in fact been tabled.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! I ask the honourable gentleman to resume his seat. I was not in the chair at the time the document was quoted from. I did not hear the quote that was made, I assume, by the Deputy Prime Minister, and I am not in a position to decide whether a document is whole or otherwise. I have seen on occasions pieces of paper that have been tora before they have been brought into the House. It would be difficult for me to rule, even if I had been in the chair, whether the document had been torn before or after it was tabled. I do not think that is any prima facie case.


Mr Lynch - I raise a point of order. In understanding the statement you have just made, Mr Deputy Speaker, could I suggest that in order to put this matter beyond any doubt or qualification the Deputy Prime Minister be invited to indicate to this House whether that document is the same document from which he commented this morning and in fact what is the part which was the subject of cutting, if the paper is only one half of the page, and ask the Minister why the other papers have not been tabled.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! It is not a point of order that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is taking. Whether the document is one the Minister used in the House and whether a piece was deleted before it came into the House are not questions which have anything to do with the House at all.


Mr Barnard - I give an unqualified assurance to the honourable member for Sturt, who for some reason or other wants to reflect on my integrity, and to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that the document which the honourable member now has in his hands is precisely the same document in terms of its contents as the one which I quoted from and which I asked to be incorporated in Hansard. I have done everything that I possibly can to accommodate the honourable member, and I resent the fact that he reflects on my integrity in this matter.

Sitting suspended from 1.1 to 2.15 p.m.







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