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Wednesday, 14 November 1973
Page: 3319


Mr SPEAKER - Order! There are 64 ayes. The third reading of the Bill is therefore carried by an absolute majority.

Question so resolved in the affirmative, by an absolute majority.

Bill read a third time.


Mr Sinclair - On a point of order, Mr Speaker, I ask on what basis you have declared that division to be so declared. I refer to standing orders 201 and 203. Standing order 201 provides that the Speaker is required to specify 2 tellers for each side of the House. Under standing order 203 the tellers - .that is the total number of tellers - are required to sign a list and to present the same to the Speaker who will declare the result to the House. Only two of the tellers whom you appointed to take a tally have signed the list, and therefore I contend that there has been no valid vote counted.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The Constitution provides:

The proposed law for the alteration thereof -

This is in regard to an alteration to the Constitution - must be passed by an absolute majority of each House of the Parliament, and not less than two nor more than six months after its passage through both Houses . . .


Mr Street - On a point of order-


Mr Sinclair - Mr Speaker, on a point of order-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I have no power to compel tellers to take a count of the House. If they refuse to do so I can only record those who are subjected to a count. I cannot compel tellers to take a count. If they refuse, that is not my business.


Mr Sinclair - Mr Speaker, would you explain to the House how you can go against the specifications within standing orders 201 and 203 which require all 4 tellers to sign the list after a tally is taken and the result can be declared to the House?


Mr SPEAKER -Order! There is no standing order that can refute the Constitution as it is laid down. It was not a division; it was a count by the tellers of those voting for aye. There was no division called for.


Mr Street - A point of order. My point of order is that I understand it is a constitutional requirement that an absolute majority is necessary for a Bill of this sort. That is not under challenge. My point of order is that this Bill was passed on the third reading without such an absolute majority being recorded. Under what standing order did you call the second division on the third reading?


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The Bill must be passed by an absolute majority.


Mr Street - A point of order, Mr Speaker. I understand the wording is that it is desirable that it be passed by an absolute majority. It is not essential, obligatory or mandatory that it be passed in that way.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I have given my ruling on this matter.


Mr Malcolm Fraser - A point of order, Mr Speaker. This question was put in the first instance and carried on the voices and the Clerk read the Bill a third time. This Opposition has been trying to find out for a very considerable while on what authority you put a second time the question relating to the third reading of the Bill. The Opposition submits that there is no such authority, and the Bill having been declared carried not on an absolute majority of the third reading the first time it has in fact lapsed so far as the constitutional terms relating to the Bill are concerned. The Opposition submits, Mr Speaker-


Mr SPEAKER


Mr Malcolm Fraser - Mr Speaker, I have not yet finished my point of order. If the Clerk would remain seated while I finish it-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member will resume his seat. Sit down. I would like to state that I have complete faith in the probity and impartiality of the officers of this House, and I consider that remark a complete insult to the officers of this House. I ask you to withdraw that remark and apologise.


Mr Martin - Or get out.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! Or you will get out. Keep quiet. I ask the honourable member for Wannon to withdraw and apologise.


Mr Malcolm Fraser - Mr Speaker, there was no offence-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I have asked you to apologise.


Mr Malcolm Fraser - Mr Speaker, I apologise to the Clerks, and I withdraw any imputation against the Clerks, for whom I have the highest possible respect.


Mr SPEAKER - You ought to show it.


Mr Malcolm Fraser - Mr Speaker, my concern was that it was you, yourself, who were not listening to my point of order. What I was saying was that you, Mr Speaker, were not listening to the point of order being put.


Mr SPEAKER


Mr Malcolm Fraser - Mr Speaker-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! There is no point of order involved. The honourable member for Wannon will resume his seat.


Mr Malcolm Fraser - Mr Speaker, a point of order-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I have asked the honourable member for Wannon to resume his seat.


Mr Malcolm Fraser - Mr Speaker, I take another point of order.


Mr SPEAKER - Order! I know what was meant when the honourable member for Wannon said 'if the Clerk would remain seated while 1 finish'. 1 know what was meant. It is no good trying to get around it.


Mr Malc'olm Fraser - Mr Speaker, may I continue my point of order concerning the third reading?


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I have given a ruling on it.


Mr Malcolm Fraser - Mr Speaker, there has been no ruling.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! It is necessary for the Speaker to establish that an absolute majority has carried a vote in the case of a Bill before the House concerned with an alteration of the Constitution. I have given that ruling.


Mr Malcom Fraser - Mr Speaker, on a point of order-


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


Mr Malcolm Fraser - Am I not entitled-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Wannon will resume his seat. He is acting in defiance of the Chair. I have given my ruling and it stands.


Mr Malcolm Fraser - Mr Speaker, on a point of order-


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


Mr Malcolm Fraser - Mr Speaker, I take a point of order.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Wannon will remain silent.


Mr Malcolm Fraser - Mr Speaker, on a point of order-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Wannon is deliberately trying to flout the authority of the Chair, and I name him.

Motion (by Mr Morrison) proposed:

That the honourable member for Wannon be suspended from the service of the House.


Mr DONALD CAMERON (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - What about the honourable member for Flinders?


Mr SPEAKER -Order! If the honourable member for Griffith does not contain himself he will be named too. I am not going to lose control of this House; do not worry about that.


Mr Bourchier - What about having a look at Hansard?


Mr SPEAKER -Order! Members of the Opposition may laugh. The point is that I am quite willing to accept the advice tendered to me by my Clerks in regard to what is correct and what is not correct. I stand by the ruling I gave. I named the honourable member for Wannon.


Mr Snedden - Mr Speaker, may I have your indulgence to say a few words?


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The Leader of the Opposition has not got the call. He will resume his seat.


Mr Snedden - Mr Speaker, I ask for your indulgence for a moment. I think that in the interests of the House you should hear the few words that I wish to say.


Mr SPEAKER -I call the Leader of the Opposition.

MrSNEDDEN (Bruce - Leader of the Opposition) - Mr Speaker, you have named the honourable member for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser). What has disturbed him is that he raised a point of order and he believes that you have not given a ruling on it. He raised the point of order because he believed that the Bill was read a third time by the Clerk and therefore, according to the Standing Orders, the Bill had passed the House.


Mr SPEAKER


Mr SNEDDEN - Mr Speaker,please allow me to continue for a moment.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! You are only repeating what the honourable member for Wannon said. I have given my ruling.


Mr SNEDDEN - Mr Speaker,if you have given a ruling on that matter, I am sure that if you will repeat the ruling so that we can know what it is the problem will be solved. The honourable member for Wannon believes that you have not given a ruling. That is the point

I am making. If you would give the ruling so that we can hear it, then I believe that the problem would be solved.


Mr SPEAKER -I have given the ruling several times. It is necessary for the Chair to establish the fact that any Bill which proposes to alter the Constitution is carried by an absolute majority. It is necessary to establish that. I followed that requirement; otherwise the Bill could not be read a third time.


Mr SNEDDEN - Mr Speaker,I ask you to permit me to make this point to you in the interests of the House, because the people on the Opposition side believe that you are not listening to the points they want to make. I am trying to make the point to you, Mr Speaker, in the interests of amity in the House. If you will allow me to make the point, I am sure that we can restore order to the House, which I think would be what you would want to achieve. The point I want to make to you for your understanding is this: The honourable member for Wannon believes that he heard the Clerk read the Bill a third time. That means that the Bill had passed. You, Sir, then announced that the reason for the division was that under the Constitution - to use your own words - it is necessary for the Bill to be passed by an absolute majority. But what I want to point out to you, Mr Speaker, is that whether or not it has been passed by an absolute majority can be determined only by a count. It is not sufficient for Mr Speaker to say that it must be passed by an absolute majority. Indeed, Sir, the words that you used were: It is desirable.' The point that the honourable member for Wannon was making is that after the Bill was read a third time you then, without any leave of the House or any recommittal motion, called a division. The honourable member for Wannon wishes to know from you on what authority you called the division without there being any leave sought, any motion or anything of that kind. If you would give an answer to that, the problem would be solved.


Mr SPEAKER -In the first place, leave is not necessary. In the second place, the Bill could not be read a third time until it was established that it had been passed by an absolute majority. I have given that ruling, and that ruling stands.


Mr SNEDDEN - Mr Speaker,I now understand what you are ruling, and it is open to us to move dissent from your ruling if we wish to do so. But what I am pointing out to you, Mr Speaker, is that you named the honourable member for Wannon and I am sure that when you named him you did not understand what was perturbing him. I have now explained it. I ask you to withdraw the naming of the honourable member for Wannon.

An honourable member - You are not going to be insulted by that ape.


Mr McLeay - I object to that.


Mr Lynch - Who said that? Ask him to withdraw it.


Mr McLeay - The honourable member for Eden-Monaro called one of our fellows an ape.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Wannon repeatedly flouted my ruling and I gave a ruling in regard to the point of order. He kept on raising the same point of order time after time. This could go on indefinitely. If the honourable member for Wannon likes to withdraw, I will withdraw the naming.


Mr Killen - Mr Speaker, with the greatest of reluctance I move: That your ruling be disagreed to'.


Mr SPEAKER - Order! There is already a motion before the House, namely, that the honourable member for Wannon be suspended from the service of the House. Those of that opinion say aye; to the contrary no. I think the ayes have it.


Mr Snedden - Mr Speaker, will you require the withdrawal of and an apology for the statement made by the honourable member for Casey?


Mr SPEAKER - I did not hear it, but whatever it was-


Mr McLeay - He called me an ape.


Mr SPEAKER - Order! Does the honourable member for Wannon want to withdraw his remarks?


Mr Malcolm Fraser - Mr Speaker, I would have been very pleased to withdraw if the Opposition had been given the reason for the second committal of the third reading of the Bill. It has not been given the reason for that; so, with the greatest respect, I regret that I cannot withdraw my remarks.


Mr SPEAKER -The question is: That the honourable member for Wannon be suspended from the service of the House for 24 hours'.

Question put.







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