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Thursday, 27 February 1975
Page: 830


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -He certainly is.


Mr SNEDDEN -I assume that he has not yet resigned in writing in accordance with the Standing Orders. It was apparent to everybody in this chamber -


Mr Keating - I rise on a point of order. The matter which the honourable gentleman raises on a matter, of privilege assumes and alleges intimidation about which I believe the Speaker did not complain to the House. There are no grounds for the matter being raised and no reason why you, Mr Deputy Speaker, should hear it.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! An honourable member is entitled to rise on a matter of privilege at the first opportunity. It is then the responsibility of the Speaker to determine whether a prima facie case exists for the matter to be referred to the Committee of Priveleges


Mr SNEDDEN - It was apparent to everbody in this Chamber that in the circumstances as they arose the Speaker, Mr Cope, was subjected to intimidation by the honourable member for Werriwa, the Prime Minister. It is necessary to recapitulate -


Mr Daly - I rise on a point of order. The straight-out statement of the Leader of the Opposition that it was apparent to everybody that the Speaker was threatened is an allegation that is unfounded. I submit that it is not in accordance with the facts and he has no right to state it as a fact.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -The Leader of the Opposition is entitled to say what he considers the breach is in relation to a matter of privilege.


Mr SNEDDEN - It is necessary to recapitulate briefly what happened. I will not go into the matters of personal explanations. I will deal with what commenced this procedure. The Speaker, Mr Cope, named the Minister for Labor and Immigration (Mr Clyde Cameron). It is well established practice that when that occurs the Leader of the House stands to support the Speaker's ruling by moving- no matter who the member is or on what side of the House- that the House dispense with the services of the honourable member so named. It is perfectly clear that the duty of the Leader of the House (Mr Daly) was so to move. It was apparent to every honourable member who was looking that the Prime Minister, the honourable member for Werriwa, indicated to the Leader of the House that he was not to move that motion.


Mr Hunt -He said 'No'.


Mr SNEDDEN -He indicated to the Leader of the House that he was not to move that motion. Honourable members on this side of the House heard the honourable member for Werriwa say to the Leader of the House 'No', indicating that he was not to move the motion. In accordance with that direction from the Prime Minister, the Leader of the House did not move the motion. It was then left to the Deputy Leader of the Australian Country Party, Mr Sinclair, who acts as Leader of the House for the Opposition, to spring into the breach and move the motion that the Minister for Labor and Immigration be suspended from the services of the House. Had the Deputy Leader of the Country Party not done that the ruling of the Speaker, the dignity of the House, the authority of the Chair and the whole wellbeing of the Parliament would have collapsed. It required the Deputy Leader of the Country Party to move that motion. It has been the practice in the 1 9 years that I have been here and it has been the practice for the 30 years that the Leader of the House has been here, and every member of Parliament understands the procedure, that the Government must uphold the authority of the Speaker. If the Government does not uphold the authority of the Speaker this Parliament will be reduced to a rabble that cannot legislate in the interests of the nation.

Against that clear background the Deputy Leader of the Country Party moved that the Minister for Labor and Immigration be suspended from the services of the House. It should have been then a matter for the Government to support that motion. Instead it decided to vote against the motion. During the course of the calling of the division the Prime Minister, the honourable member for Werriwa, was seen to get up from the table, walk up to the Speaker's canopy, approach the Speaker, lean upon the arm rest and- with a very angry, florid outraged face- apparently utter words to the Speaker.


Mr Sherry - Did he say woof woof?


Mr SNEDDEN - If he was talking to the honourable member for Franklin he would say gaa gaa


Mr Daly - As it is obvious the Leader of the Opposition is making a propaganda speech, I move:

The Leader of the Opposition be not further heard.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -I take it that the Leader of the Opposition has moved a motion. I take it that when he rose he did so to move a motion on a matter of privilege.


Mr SNEDDEN -Yes. I raised the matter of privilege. I am prepared to move a motion. My understanding is that Speaker Cope ruled that first a matter of privilege should be raised with the Speaker and then the Speaker would ascertain whether there was a prima facie case. If so, the motion could be moved. I am quite prepared to move a motion now.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -I point out to the Leader of the Opposition that Mr Speaker Cope also, at that stage, refused the honourable member the right to speak until he had dealt with the matter unless a motion was moved. If the Leader of the Opposition moves a motion he may continue.


Mr SNEDDEN - I shall. I move:

That the conduct of intimidation of the honourable member for Werriwa constitutes a breach of privilege of the Parliament and should be referred to the Committee of Privileges for the purpose of the Committee of Privileges deciding the manner in which the honourable member for Werriwa should be dealt with for his intimidation of the Speaker.

Motion (by Mr Daly) put:

That the Leader of the Opposition be not further heard.







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