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Thursday, 17 September 1936

The PRESIDENT - The first part of the honorable senator's question contains a rather strong expression of opinion.

Senator BROWN - In what way?.

The PRESIDENT - The honorable senator is assuming the existence of a certain opinion.

Senator BROWN - I am not assuming its existence; I know it exists.

The PRESIDENT - The honorable senator is incorporating in his question an expression of opinion which,he well knows, is contrary to the Standing Orders.

Senator BROWN - On most occasions, Mr. President, I defer to your ruling, but surely I have not this afternoon offended against the standing order relating to the asking of questions ?

The PRESIDENT - If the honorable gentleman will again read his question be will see that he has.

Senator BROWN - Very well. I ask the Loader of the Senate -

Will the Government respond to an Australianwide public sentiment hostile to the dole system-

Is there anything wrong with that?

The PRESIDENT - The honorable senator must realize that it is an expression of opinion which is not permitted in questions intended to elicit information from Ministers.

Senator BROWN - Nevertheless, I feel sure that the Leader of the Senate is prepared to answer it.

The PRESIDENT - No doubt the right honorable gentleman is; but I ask him to ignore entirely the first part of the question, because it contains a clear expression of opinion, and therefore offends against the Standing Orders.

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE -I was about to reply to the question by telling Senator Brown that the Government has already responded to public sentiment with reference to the unemployment situation, as will be seen from a perusal of the budget statement.

Senator BROWN - I am not satisfied with the reply of the Leader of the Senate, though it has the merit of being straightforward ; but on other occasions when I have asked questions of Ministers there has been definite evasion in the answers given.

The PRESIDENT - Order !

Senator Sir George PEARCE - I rise to order. The statement made by the honorable senator is distinctly offensive to me as a member of the Government, and I ask that it be withdrawn.

Senator Brown - A day or two ago, I asked a question of the Leader of the Senate-

Honorable Senators. - Withdraw !

Senator Sir George Pearce - I direct your attention, Mr. President, to the fact that the honorable senator has not withdrawn the statement. It is offensive to ma.

Senator Brown - But I include others in it.

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