Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Thursday, 17 September 1936

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for External Affairs) [3.6]. - In accordance with the Standing Orders, I move -

That Senator Brown be suspended from the sitting of the Senate.

Senator J V MACDONALD (QUEENSLAND) - The course taken by the Leader of the Senate is altogether too drastic, and I repeat that I consider there has been a good deal of evasion in alleged answers given by Ministers in this chamber to questions.

The PRESIDENT - The honorable senator will resume his seat. Senator Brown has deliberately disobeyed the standing order. He is not without parliamentary experience. Neither is Senator J. V. MacDonald. Both well know what is expected of them as members of this chamber. When Ministers reply to questions, honorable senators are expected to accept the answers without suggesting that they are evasive. I therefore ask Senator Brown to offer reasons as to why he should not be suspended.

Senator Brown - Do you invite me to make an explanation, Mr. President?

The PRESIDENT - If the honorable gentleman cares to do so.

Senator Brown - Very well. Last Thursday, I asked a question of the Leader of the Senate with reference to Japanese sampans in. Australian waters. I admit that my question was so framed that it enabled the right honorable gentleman to answer it in the way he did. But yesterday, in the House of Representatives, when a similar question was addressed to the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. White), the Minister there, recognizing, no doubt, that the people of Queensland are vitally interested in the matter, courteously gave the information desired. The Leader of the Senate, had he wished to do so, could have given me the desired information. I asked another question dealing with trade treaties, and I call the attention of the Senate to the fact that-

Senator Sir George Pearce - I rise to a point of order. I direct attention to Standing Order 440 which reads -

When any senator has been reported as having committed an offence he shall be called upon to stand up in his place and make anr explanation or apology ho may think fit, and afterwards a motion may be moved " That such senator be suspended from the sitting of the Senate." No amendment, adjournment. or debate shall bc allowed on such motion which shall be immediately put by the President.

I remind you, sir, that you called Senator Brown to order, and as he disobeyed your ruling by refusing to withdraw the statement to which I objected, you named him. I then moved for his suspension from the sitting of the Senate. I therefore submit that he is not now in order in offering an explanation of his conduct. Under the standing order which I have read he cannot be called upon to make an explanation.

Senator Brown - Itis disgraceful if I am not permitted to give reasons for what I have said.

The PRESIDENT - My attention having been directed to the standing order, I ask the honorable senator for the last time to withdraw his statement.

Senator Brown - In response to your invitation, Mr. President, I was offering an explanation when the Leader of the Senate intervened.

Senator Sir George Pearce - I merely directed attention to the standing order dealing with this matter.

The PRESIDENT - Does the honorable senator intend to withdraw the offensive expression to which the Leader of the Senate has taken objection?

Senator Brown - I have not been guilty of an offensive expression.

The PRESIDENT - Then the question is, that the honorable senator be suspended from the sitting of the Senate.

Suggest corrections