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Thursday, 24 November 1927

The CHAIRMAN - Which cannot be debated.

Mr Charlton - It is for the committee to decide. Is the Government going to bludgeon us in this way?

The CHAIRMAN - The closure motion cannot be debated.

Mr Charlton - I warn the Prime Minister that if he proceeds in this way he is likely to make very little progress. The Prime Minister is not entitled to use his majority in order torob the Opposition of its rights.

The CHAIRMAN - There can be no debate on the motion " That the question be now put."

Mr Charlton - Surely the Prime Minister should give the committee the benefit of his views on this important point. If he deprives the minority of its right to discuss it, the members of the Opposition will retire from the chamber.

Mr Blakeley - On a point of order-

The CHAIRMAN - There can be no point of order. The question is " That the question be now put."

Mr Blakeley - My point of order, Mr. Chairman, is that the business of this committee is in your custody. The Prime Minister, as Leader of the Government, has no rights in regard to a motion of dissent from your ruling. It is not competent for him to usurp your rights and privileges.

Mr McGrath - Mr. Chairman-

The CHAIRMAN - The honorable member for Ballarat will resume his seat.

Mr McGrath - The Prime Minister is not satisfied with having moved the "gag " once to-night. He has moved it again on an important point affecting the rights and privileges of honorable members.

Mr Blakeley - I thought I had the floor. You, Mr. Chairman, as custodian of the rights of honorable members, are in charge of the procedure. You have no right to allow the Prime Minister to usurp your own powers.

The CHAIRMAN - Lock the doors! I appoint the honorable members for Maribyrnong and Hindmarsh tellers for the "Ayes," and the honorable members for Maranoa and Macquarie tellers for the "Noes."

Members of the Opposition declining to act as tellers,

The CHAIRMAN - There being no tellers for the "Noes," I declare the question resolved in theaffirmative.

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