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Thursday, 9 December 1976

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I ask the honourable gentleman to provide me with a copy of the motion.

Mr WENTWORTH - Yes, Mr Speaker. I have it in written form here. I was hoping to have it typed. Sir -

Mr SPEAKER -I ask the honourable gentleman to wait until I have seen it. I must say that I have the greatest difficulty reading it. I will return it to the honourable gentleman, so that he may read it again.

Mr WENTWORTH - I thank you, Mr Speaker. I am not a doctor! It reads:

That the House, having considered the petition presented this day, 9 December, by Danny Sankey regarding the making available in court proceedings of reports of its debates, gives permission for the Hansard report of its proceedings on 9 July 197S to be adduced in evidence as desired by the petitioner and for the necessary arrangements to be made for its verification in court.

Mr SPEAKER -I rule that the honourable gentleman must give notice of the motion. If the honourable member gives the motion to the Clerk notice will appropriately be taken of it. The honourable gentleman has no right to speak unless he moves successfully to suspend the Standing Orders.

Mr WENTWORTH - If I could explain, I would not be more than 2 minutes. May I have your indulgence, Mr Speaker, to speak for a period not exceeding 2 minutes?

Mr SPEAKER -I will give -

Mr Lionel Bowen -I rise to a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER -The honourable member for Mackellar will resume his seat while I hear the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith.

Mr Lionel Bowen -I suggest, Mr Speaker, that what you are saying is right; I think this should conclude the matter. Notice should be given of any motion and there should not be any further debate. I make the point that it is somewhat surprising to think that a petition apparently was presented signed by a Minister of the Government who is not taking any action himself.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable gentleman is debating the matter. He should make his point of order.

Mr Lionel Bowen - My point of order relates to a question of privilege suddenly arising. This question of privilege should have arisen surely at the time when the petition was presented.

Mr SPEAKER -I accept the point of order in that sense. I have given my ruling. Nobody is capable of being absolutely certain. Therefore I propose as a matter of indulgence to permit the honourable gentleman to say a few sentences if he wishes to argue why I am wrong. If he does not persuade me to his way of thinking, I will persist with my ruling. I give the honourable gentleman a short period of latitude.

Mr WENTWORTH - I am most appreciative. I refer of course to standing order 96. The reason my motion should be approved relates to the introductory remarks of the then Prime Minister (Mr E. G. Whitlam) on 9 July 1975 in this matter. He said:

This House has been recalled so that once and for all the people of Australia may hear and judge any allegations of impropriety, illegality malpractice or malfeasance against the Government or any Minister.

This challenge was put out by the present Leader of the Opposition when Prime Minister. I believe that in view of the nature of the challenge it would be very wrong if any legal point were used to prevent the full facts coming out in court. It would be very wrong for the Leader of the Opposition to be able to take refuge as a trick lawyer when his whole veracity is in question.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I will not permit any further indulgence. The honourable gentleman is transgressing not only the requirement to give notice of motion without debating it but also the sub judice rule which applies in this case. The honourable member referred to standing order 96. 1 do not feel any necessity to explain in detail my reaction to that. Although the honourable member mentioned the standing order, he did not argue on it.

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