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Thursday, 20 September 1973
Page: 1324


Mr SPEAKER - Order! It is a fact that the motion before the House is one of dissent from the Speaker's ruling in regard to the matter brought up by the honourable member for Sturt. The Leader of the Opposition is not to debate what happened this morning. He has 20 minutes to show why the Speaker's ruling should be dissented from.


Mr SNEDDEN - This is very relevant to it.


Mr SPEAKER - Order! It is not relevant as far as I am concerned. The Leader of the Opposition must keep to the motion before the Chair, the motion of dissent from 'the Speaker's ruling in regard to a matter referred to by the honourable member for Sturt.


Mr SNEDDEN - Mr Speaker,are you ruling that what you have ruled today in relation to the tabling of papers is irrelevant as to what we say you should rule in relation to tabling yesterday?


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The point is that the Leader of the Opposition is discussing at present a motion of dissent from the Speaker's ruling in regard to the- tabling of papers, not in regard to an incident which may have occurred this morning concerning the Minister for Minerals and Energy.


Mr Barnard - I take a point of order.


Mr Lynch - You will put your foot in it again.


Mr Barnard - I thought the Leader of the Opposition had moved dissent from the Speaker's ruling. Has he spoken to that?


Mr SNEDDEN - I rise to continue.


Mr Barnard - All right. Go ahead.


Mr SNEDDEN - It is extraordinary that with all the trouble the Minister for Minerals and Energy is in the Deputy Prime Minister comes in to try to get him out of it. I think that he would be better to fight on his own. Everbody is speaking about the Barnardisation of the armed forces. Now we have the Barnardisation of the Minister for Minerals and Energy.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The Leader of the Opposition will speak into the microphone as the Prime Minister did this morning.


Mr SNEDDEN - I will repeat into the microphone what I said. Everybody is speaking about the Barnardisation of the defence forces-


Mr Collard - Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. The Leader of the Opposition is supposed to be speaking to a motion of dissent from your ruling. That motion has nothing to do with the Minister for Defence or any other Minister.


Mr SPEAKER -I ask the Leader of the Opposition to confine his remarks to the motion before the Chair, which is 'That the Speaker's ruling be dissented from'.


Mr SNEDDEN - Mr Speaker,the Minister for Minerals and Energy threw the papers. He was responding apparently, although in great rage and fury, to your ruling that the whole of the documents had to be tabled. As I said, fortunately they missed the Clerk. They did not hit him. If they had, they could have seriously injured him.

Here then Mr Speaker, is the position: You ruled today that the whole of those documents had to be tabled. Yesterday a document was read from and you ruled that it should be tabled. In fact, part only of the document was tabled. Quite clearly, your ruling of yesterday would have required the tabling of the whole of the document, not part of the document only. Your ruling today was correct. You ruled that the whole of the document had to be tabled. The honourable member for Sturt (Mr Wilson) then took a point of order on the basis that, as you had ruled today - correctly, I might say, in my belief - that the whole of the document had to be tabled, he was entitled on the basis of that correct ruling to ask you to order that the whole of the document ordered to be tabled yesterday should now be tabled. Your ruling had become clear.

For some reason which is beyond my comprehension, Mr Speaker, you are saying that, although you know it to be absolutely correct, because you did not order the whole of the document to be tabled yesterday the whole of that document cannot be called for today. If this Parliament is to continue on rationally, without such episodes as the Minister for Minerals and Energy using all his energy to throw papers across the table, as he did today - his action was of similar order to but not worse than, the performance of the present Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) when he threw a glass of water over the then Minister for External Affairs who is the present Governor-General - and if the business of this Parliament is to be conducted according to the rules of parliamentary procedure, you must be consistent. It is because you are failing to be consistent that we have felt obliged to move dissent from your ruling.

The ruling that you gave this morning about tabling the whole of the document is correct. The ruling that you gave following that ruling - you refused to allow the honourable member for Sturt today to call for the tabling of the whole of the document which he sought to be tabled yesterday - is wrong. I suggest to you that the interests of this Parliament, the interests of parliamentary democracy and the interests of sticking to the rules of the House require you to say today to the honourable member for Sturt: 'You are correct', and then to say to the Minister for Defence: 'You shall table today the whole of the document, and not that selected part which you have torn off from the document'. There is the simple reason for the Opposition moving dissent from your ruling. We take this action without wishing to do other than achieve from you consistency.


Mr SPEAKER - Is the motion seconded?







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