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Wednesday, 21 July 1920

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) :- I support the arguments put forward by honorable members. Mr.Speaker is placed in a difficult position between two diverging statements, the claim of legal gentlemen of the Opposition that the case of Father Jerger is not sub judice, and the assurance of the Minister who acts as legal adviser to the -Government that it is sub judice. Naturally, Mr. Speaker cannotbe Blamed for accenting . the . legal opinion given by a Minister of the Crown. Surely in this House, which is, for the present moment, the . highest Court in Australia, our lips ought not to be . sealed . upon : this matter when nearly ' every -one outside and . the press are .;pesmitted to comment on it, as freely as they choose, without being penalized . for -so doing. If the gentleman whose name has been mentioned had committed some wrong, it should be proved in open Court, and, if proved, there would be no claim from honorable members such as that now put forward. I merely wish to add that, although this Parliament may be the highest Court in the country, what has been allowed to take place would not be permitted for one moment if the people, the creators of this Parliament, had the power of the recall. They would use it freely, indeed, too freely and very awkwardly for some honorable members here to-day.

Mr.FENTON (Maribymong) [5.56]. - Every honorable member should be vitally concerned at any attempt to filch his privileges. The usefulness of this Parliament and its opportunity to debate a great many questions that oughtto be fully discussed will surely be denied to it if, oh this occasion, Mr. Speaker's ruling is supported. Any honorable member who votes in favour of the ruling will be settinghimself up as one who desires to curtail debate. There hasbeen no Court proceeding in connexion with the Father Jerger case except last week, when an appeal was made to Mr. Justice Starke in. chambers. I do not regard the inquiry by Sir Robert Garran as Court proceedings. Yet honorable members have been pulled up at once by Mr. Speaker for attempting to discuss what occurred at that inquiry.

Mr McDonald - It is admitted that it was not a Court.

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