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Thursday, 17 March 1904

Mr MAHON (Coolgardie) - I desire to direct the attention of the House to a matter which I consider involves the privileges of honorable members. Standing order No. 98 provides,with regard to notices of motion, that -

The notices shall beentered by the Clerk on the notice-paper in the order in which they were given.

On the very first sitting day of the House I gave notice of motion as follows: -

That in the opinion of this House, the honorable member for Wakefield, Sir Frederick William Holder, K.C.M.G., has, by his acceptance of a fee or honorarium for services rendered to the Commonwealth between the 23rd day of November, 1903, and the 2nd day of March, 1904, vacated his seat as a member of the House of Representatives.

That notice has had precedence on the paper, for the day for which notice was given, upon every occasion until to-day. Now, however, I find that notices of motion which were subsequently submitted by the honorable member for Gippsland and the honorable member for Kennedy have been given priority. The honorable members referred to only recently gave notice of the motions standing in their names, and therefore it is my impression that somebodyit may have been the Government or some one else - has been gerrymandering the notices of motion.

Mr Deakin - It certainly has not been the Government.

Mr MAHON - I protest against my notice of motion, which was given in accordance with the Standing Orders and the rules of Parliament, being required to yield precedence to notices of motion subsequently given.

Mr Deakin - The honorable member's notice will be taken first, wherever it may appear on the notice-paper, because it raises a question of privilege.

Mr MAHON - Then why should it be placed in its present position upon the notice-paper? There is another Standing Order, No. 240, by which it appears that -

The Committees of Supply and Ways and Means shall be appointed at the commencement of every session, so soon as an Address has been agreed to in answer to His Excellency the GovernorGeneral's Speech.

I contend that there is nothing to prevent the House from dealing with the motion of which I have given notice, before it proceeds to appoint the Committees referred to, because the necessity for having a Chairman of Committees, immediately after the Address in Reply has been disposed of, does not arise. The words used are " as soon as," and honorable members will agree that if it were intended that the Committees should be appointed immediately, the word " forthwith " would probably have been employed. I do not wish to' detain the House, but I merely rise, to protest against any one tampering with the notices of motion, and to also express the wish that my notice shall be placed upon the paper in the proper order of precedence.

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