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Tuesday, 30 May 1972
Page: 2272

Senator WOOD - Mr Deputy President, 1 have to report, as Temporary Chairman, that during the proceedings of the Committee Senator Georges committed an offence, having continually disobeyed the Chair.

Senator Poyser - A bushranger decision.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Order! If there are any further interjections, somebody else will be named. J have been informed by the Temporary Chairman, Senator Wood, of the naming of Senator Georges. Under the customary proceedings, Senator Georges has the opportunity to apologise to the Senate.

Senator Georges - Let me make my position clear. I raised a point of order in sincerity-

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Order! You are not being given an opportunity to debate the ruling. You are being given an opportunity to apologise.

Senator Georges - 1 would say Mr Deputy President-

Senator Murphy - On a point of order, Mr Deputy President; the honourable senator has been called upon to make his explanation. He is entitled, I submit to you, to explain the circumstances. If he wants to say that what he was doing, as I apprehend it, was not intended as an insult to the Chair but he thought that he was entitled to take a point of order, I submit that he should be permitted to explain the circumstances, which were quite complicated. Obviously there was some misunderstanding, and I submit that the honourable senator ought to be entitled to explain himself.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Senator Georges, I will hear your explanation.

Senator Georges - As I was saying, Mr Deputy President, in all sincerity I rose on a point of order. Perhaps I did so in ignorance of the Standing Orders. I do not state that I was in ignorance of the Standing Orders. I merely asked the Temporary

Chairman of Committees whether it was in order for the Minister to speak for some 10 to 15 minutes, to raise certain new points during that time which necessitated a response from the Opposition and then to move the gag to prevent not only me but also other Opposition senators from speaking. At that point I raised a point of order. I was not in any way disrespectful to the Chair, nor was I insulting to any senator opposite. I merely raised the point of order. I felt I was entitled to raise that point of order. However, may I make the comment that the method by which the Temporary Chairman did name mc - I make this point clear even though I may offend - seemed to indicate some prior intent. Perhaps my behaviour-

Senator Webster - That is a reflection on the Chair.

Senator Georges - It is a reflection on the Chair.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Senator Georges, you may not reflect upon the decision of the Chair.

Senator Georges - If I may say, Mr Deputy President, I am entitled to feel that there was some prior intent, but I do not feel that by raising the point of order I was in any way guilty of conduct which would lead to my being named.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Senator Georges, I have heard your explanation. I also heard the incident from outside the chamber. The fact of the matter is that you defied a ruling of the Chair that your point of order was not sustained and you continued to debate that ruling with the Chair. Clearly that is disorderly conduct. No doubt you were under some misapprehension and were not deliberately defying the Chair. Accordingly I give you the opportunity to apologise for your conduct.

Senator Georges - Mr Deputy President, I did not seek to be named. It was not my intention to be named. If it is my desire at any time to be named and to be expelled from this chamber it will be on a matter of principle and not because of some such petty incident. For that reason I apologise.

Senator Davidson - That is offensive talk.

Senator Georges - Did someone say I was offensive?

Senator Murphy - Mr Deputy President, 1 rise to a point of order.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- I will not entertain points of order while I am hearing an explanation. Senator Georges, you may continue.

Senator Georges -I have made my position clear. I apologise to the Chair.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Thank you, Senator Georges.

Senator Drake-Brockman - I was not here when the incident occurred but I have listened to what Senator Georges has said. In the circumstances, I think perhaps we should continue with the discussion of the Bill before the Committee.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- I suggest that the Senate adopt the course proposed by the Acting Leader of the Government.

In Committee

Consideration resumed.

Motion (by Senator Greenwood) put:

That the question be now put.

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