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Thursday, 24 May 1928

Mr SCULLIN (Yarra) .- [By leave.]. - On the 15th May last, the Prime Minister, by leave, made a statement in this Chamber regarding certain charges made by the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Lambert) on the 7th May described by the Prime Minister as affecting the honour of this Parliament. Prior to that statement being made the members of the Labour party had unanimously carried a resolution asking the honorable member for West Sydney to attend a party meeting to substantiate or withdraw the charges that he had made. The honorable member was too ill to attend then, hut he attended the party meeting to-day and stated that, in view of the proposal to appoint a royal commission to investigate his charges, he would prefer that the matter should remain in abeyance for the present. In the event of a commission not being appointed, he would request that a committee consisting of representatives of the Federal Parliamentary Labour party and the Federal executive be appointed to investigate his allegations. The following resolution was then carried bythe party: -

In view of the statement and the request made by Mr. Lambert the matter be postponed for further consideration at a date to be fixed.

My purpose in asking leave to make this statement was to repeat what I said when the Prime Minister made his announcement the other day: that, speaking for the Labour party, I hoped that the inquiry would be expedited, and not be permitted to drag on for political purposes. The Prime Minister then announced that he was inviting the Chief Justice of the High Court to investigate the charges. It was assumed that he had received the consent of the Chief Justice of the High Court to act in that capacity, and it was rather amusing to us to learn later that the name of the Chief Justice was mentioned as the possible commissioner without the Government having first obtained his consent. I make no further comment, except that

I wish to take this early opportunity, at the unanimous request of my party, to place before the Government the fact that the Prime Minister stated on the 15th May that there would be an immediate investigation concerning the allegations or charges made on the 7th May. I now ask the representative of the Government what has been done in the matter, and when the investigation is to commence?

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