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Wednesday, 9 November 1904

Mr STORRER (Bass) - Some honorable members have said that Ministers ought to be satisfied to adjourn now, but the matter may not be of so much consequence to them, because they have to reside in Melbourne to attend to their official duties, as to those who come from the other States. I consider that we should sit either late at night or in the mornings, in order to get through business more quickly. Although the debate to-night was on an important question of policy, there has been too much repetition. I should like to have sittings on Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

Mr. McDONALD(Kennedy).- I protest against the statement of the honorable member for Bass about the debate to-night having been a waste of time.

Mr Robinson - It is quite true.

Mr McDONALD - No one has wasted more time than has the honorable and learned member. He has frequently stated that that was his object.

Mr Robinson -That is incorrect.

The CHAIRMAN - I ask the honorable member for Kennedy to discuss the division before the Committee.

Mr McDONALD - The honorable member for Bass was allowed to characterize as a waste of time the discussion of a very important matter, and I desire to reply to him.

The CHAIRMAN -The honorable member's long parliamentary experience must show him that if that were allowed our proceedings might become interminable. The honorable member for Bass made a suggestion in connexion with the request of the leader of the Opposition for an adjournment; but if I allowed the honorable member for Kennedy to discuss it, I should have to extend the same privilege to others. I now ask the honorable member to discuss the question before the Chair.

Mr McDonald - The position is that other honorable members have already spoken, and that I am denied my right to reply.

The CHAIRMAN - I tell the honorable member that he has no right to deal with any matter not under the consideration of the Committee, and I ask him to confine his remarks to the question before us.

Mr McDonald - But I want to know why I am singled out in this manner. There is only one. way to have the question discussed. I move -

That your ruling be disagreed to.

The CHAIRMAN - The honorable member has written out his motion in the following words, " That your ruling bedisagreed with," but he has not stated what the ruling is. Standing order 228 is as follows : -

If any objection is taken to a ruling or decision of the Chairmanof Committees, such objection shall be stated at once in writing, and may forthwith be decided by the Committee ; and the proceedings shall then be resumed where they were interrupted.

Will the honorable member kindly state in writing the ruling to which he objects?

Mr McDonald - I disagree with your ruling, and it is not necessary for me to do more than to state that.

Mr Lonsdale - What is the ruling?

The CHAIRMAN -The honorable member for Kennedy has not seen fit to state what the ruling is.


Mr McDonald - Wasting time !

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - If the " howling dingoes" over there will be still for a moment, I will state my point of order.

Mr Watson - Is the expression "howling dingoes " in order ?

The CHAIRMAN - Will the honorable member for Parramatta withdraw that remark. ?

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I withdraw the remark, but I ask to be protected from interruption. I say that we have no right to discuss a question which is not stated. There is no question before the Chair, except one which cannot possibly be debated. What is the ruling, and when was it given, and in connexion with what? The honorable member for Kennedy has submitted a ridiculous motion which cannot possibly be debated.

The CHAIRMAN - The honorable member for Kennedy has handed me a motion which I put to the Committee, and which, so far as it goes, is in order.

Mr Lonsdale - What is theruling?

The CHAIRMAN - That is for the honorable member for Kennedy to state. If the honorable member desires honorable members to vote in ignorance as to the ruling it is a matter for himself.

Mr McDonald - The objection I take is that other honorable members were allowed to distinctly accuse honorable members of wasting time, and a charge was levelled against myself without justification. The discussion this afternoon was one of great importance, not only to the House but to the country.

The CHAIRMAN - Will the honorable member confine himself to the question?

Mr McDONALD - I am showing reasons why I object to the ruling - why I object to be ruled out of order when I attempt to reply to remarks made by the leader of the Opposition, the Minister in charge of the Estimates, and another honorable member. I have always contended that all honorable members are on the same plane, and none possess privileges over the others.

The CHAIRMAN - Do I understand the honorable member to wish to infer that I have been guilty of favoritism, because, if so, I cannot allow the honorable member to continue?

Mr McDONALD - I hope that the Chairman does not think for a moment that I accuse him of favoritism, but during the discussion certain references were made, and when I attempted to reply

I was ruled out of order. The honorable member who accused honorable members of wasting time should have been called to order, but he was not, and his remarks naturally brought forth a reply. I submit the motion because I do not thinkI should have been ruled out of order. However, as I have now really said what I wanted to say, I shall, with the consent of the Committee, withdraw the motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr McDONALD - We have had a most important discussion this afternoon, which had we not been near the end of the session, would, I believe, have occupied a couple of days. Under the circumstances, I think we might reasonably adjourn.

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