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Wednesday, 21 July 1920

Mr RYAN (West Sydney) .- No honorable member on 'the other side of theHouse has faced 'the real issue at stake. Iagree with agood deal of what

Mr. Speakerhas said.; but, likethe flowers that bloom . in the spring, his remarks ' ' have nothing to do with the case." I quite agree that there might be some impropriety in discussing a matter in Parliament if there was a likelihood of prejudicing the fair trial of any person or of unduly influencing judicial functions; hut the real issue in this case is as to whether the matter to which I was referring was sub judice.Mr. Speaker has stated that this question has been the subject-matter ofseveral rulings, and I can quite appreciate the manner in which he has beenmisled on the point as to whether this particular case was sub judice. The blame rests entirely on Ministers of the Crown - in the first place, the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook), and in the second place, -the Minister for Works and Railways (Mr. Groom). However, in-order to make perfectly clear what was the issue I had raised, I cannot -do better than refer to the report of what took place on the occasion on which the ruling was given. Sir Joseph Cook rose in his place during the course of my speech, and, addressing himself to Mr. Speaker, said -

For the last few minutes the honorable member has been discussing the Father Jerger case, which it is not within the province of this Parliament to discuss at present, as you, Mr. Speaker, well ruled this afternoon. Is it in order to set aside your ruling and to discuss the case again while it is pending in the law Courts.

Then Mr. Speaker. said-

Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir Elliot Johnson - The honorable member is not in order in quoting from reports of this session's debates.

Mr RYAN - Then what am I to do? I am merely using this record to refresh my memory as to what was said.

Mr SPEAKER - Under the Standing Orders the honorable member is not permitted to quote from Hansard of the current . session. I 'personally refrained from doing so, and trusted to my recollection of what had takenplace.

Mr J H Catts - Ifthereis a dispute as to facts, surely the honorable member can refer to the Hansard report to . support him in . his statement . of them.

Mr SPEAKER - The rulewhich has. always been followed is that. an honorable member is not permitted to quote from the Hansard report of the current session's debates unless it is the same debate. This is not the debate in the course of which the remarks were made which the honorable member seeks to quote. Those remarks were made during the debate on the censure motion submitted by the Leader of the Opposition. The debate today is on the ruling itself.

Mr RYAN - The debate is on the same subject-matter. If we are at one in regard to the facts there is nothing to argue about; but if there is a difference of opinion as to what are the facts, the most reliable source to which we may refer is the gentleman who sits at the table reporting for Hansard, who has no reason for misreporting what is said.

Mr SPEAKER - Standing order 267 is as follows: -

No member shall read from a printed book, newspaper, or the report of any speech made in Parliament during the same session.

This point cropped up early in the history of this Parliament, and it was decided that reference might be made to the Hansard reports of the same debate. Of course, this is not tha same debate as that from which the honorable member for West Sydney is quoting.

Mr J H Catts - On a point of order, I remind you, sir, that after reading to the House the notice of motion given by the honorable member for West Sydney, you said that the debate would be adjourned until the following day.

Mr SPEAKER - I said that the debate on the motion of dissent would be adjourned. I was not referring to the debate then in progress on the censure motion.

Mr RYAN - I ask honorable members to be good enough to refer to the Hansard report when it is published. I also ask all readers of Hansard to refer back to that portion of my speech on page 2790, when I was interrupted by the Minister for the Navy, and when Mr. Speaker ruled against me. They will there find that Mr. Speaker ruled that I could not refer to the Reverend Eather Jerger in any way.

Mr SPEAKER - Only while his case Was sub judice.

Mr RYAN - No doubt that was your reason, sir,, but my contention was that, although a certain case was sub judice, the particular matter to which I was referring was not so. In effect, your ruling went so far as to say that because the Reverend Father Jerger had a case in the Courts I could make no reference to him or to his deportation.

Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member could make no reference to the matters which were to be inquired' into by the Courts.

Mr RYAN - I stated earlier this afternoon that I was quite prepared to have my motion discussed in the light of the circumstances in which the notice was given; that is to say, it must be read into the context of the Hansard report of the proceedings on Thursday evening. I do not think I should alter the terms of the motion, because it expresses very well what was in my mind, if it is read into the context of the report of Thursday's proceedings. If honorable members vote against this motion they will be yoting for the curtailment of the right of parliamentary discussion on matters of public importance, and they will not be able to escape personal responsibility for their action.

Mr RODGERS (WANNON, VICTORIA) - If a case before the Courts is sub judice, what aspect of the case is not sub judice?

Mr RYAN - The matter I was referring to on Thursday was not part of the law case at all. That is the whole point of my contention. Honorable members may wriggle and try to justify their votes, but they cannot, escape their responsibility.

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