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Thursday, 29 March 1979
Page: 1374


Mr ARMITAGE (Chifley) -Mr Deputy Speaker,tonight we have heard a most extraordinary attack by a member of this House and member of the New South Wales Bar, upon the Chief Justice of the -


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Chifley will resume his seat. The remark that the honourable member has just made is immediately a reflection on the Chair. The Chair ruled that the words of the honourable member for Phillip were not offensive in terms of the Standing Orders. Therefore, if you challenge the ruling the only form by which you may do that is by a motion of dissent and that -


Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Are you saying that the Chief Justice is not a member of the judiciary? Are you saying that?


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Hughes will remain silent. The honourable member for Chifley has to move that motion of dissent at the time of the ruling. He cannot do so now.


Mr Armitage -Mr Deputy Speaker,I rise on a point of order. I refer you to Erskine May's Parliamentary Practice, nineteenth edition, at page 428 under the heading 'Reflections on the Sovereign etc. 'It reads:

Unless the discussion is based upon a substantive motion, drawn in proper terms (see page 367), reflections must not be cast in debate upon the conduct of the sovereign, the heir to the throne, or other members of the royal family, the Lord Chancellor, the Governor-General of an independent territory, the Speaker, the Chairman of Ways and Means, Members of either House of Parliament, or judges of the superior courts of the United Kingdom, including persons holding the position of a judge, such as a judge of a Court of Bankruptcy or a county court, or a recorder. Nor may opprobrious reflections be cast in debate on sovereigns and rulers over, or governments of . . .

We also have Standing Order 75. Whilst I have much respect for you, Mr Deputy Speaker, I find it extraordinary that an attack of this nature is permitted upon the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, a person whom nobody here could claim has loyalty to the Australian Labor Party or anything of that nature. This is a matter of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales being attacked and not being protected in this Parliament. Such a bitter personal attack upon him is quite uncalled for.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Chifley referred to a point of order. If he is speaking to a point of order, I rule that there is no substance to the point of order. The honourable member has the call to speak on the adjournment debate if he wishes to resume.


Mr Armitage - On the point of order, I ask you, Mr Deputy Speaker, to give the reasons for your ruling that Standing Order 75 and May's Parliamentary Practice do not apply in this instance.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER


Mr Armitage - If you could give the reasons to the House perhaps we could understand what you are about.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The Chair previously ruled on the basis that in the judgment of the Chair the language used was not offensive.


Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Mr Deputy Speaker,are you regarding the remarks by the honourable member for Chifley as a point of order or as a speech on the adjournment debate? I draw your attention to the clock, which seems to indicate that the honourable member might be regarded as speaking on the motion for the adjournment. Would you please make your position clear?


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Chifley was called to speak on the adjournment motion. I stopped the honourable member in his remarks as they made a reflection on the Chair. He then sought to take a point of order on my ruling.


Mr ARMITAGE - Mr Deputy Speaker,I will speak not on your ruling but on the action tonight by the honourable member for Phillip (Mr Birney). That issue has nothing whatsoever to do with your ruling. I think that it was a most disgraceful action on the part of the honourable member for Phillip to attack the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The honourable member for Macquarie (Mr Gillard), to say the very least, was extraordinarily foolish. Possibly his performance reflects only his lack of experience in the Parliament. But the facts are that he took that action. The facts are that tonight a member of the New South Wales Bar came into this Parliament to attack the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member's time has expired.







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