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Friday, 9 September 1949

Mr ANTHONY (Richmond) . - I move -

That the .Ruling of the Deputy Speaker - that the terms of the matter proposed to be discussed on the 2nd March, 1949, on a motion for the adjournment of the House to be moved by the right honorable the member for Cowper, had been the subject of a previous debate this session - be disagreed with.

I regret that I have to pursue a subject that was dealt with so fully yesterday in the debate on the motion of want of confidence in you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but the motion which I have submitted relates to a specific ruling that you have given. First, I take great exception to the long delay in the bringing of this matter before the House. From time to time honorable members have been told that if they are dissatisfied with a ruling of the Chair, their remedy lies in notifying their dissent in writing, in the orderly course of the conduct of this House. Standing Order 287 reads -

If any objection is taken to the ruling or decision of the Speaker, such objection must bc taken at once, and in writing . . .

I complied with both of those requirements and Motion made, which, if seconded, shall be proposed to the House, and debate thereon forthwith adjourned to the next sitting day.

I point out that although I moved my motion on the 2nd March, an opportunity to debate this matter has only now been accorded me. The Standing Order specifically mentions that debate on a motion shall be adjourned to the next sitting day.

Mr Scully - The honorable member has had plenty of time to think about it.

Mr ANTHONY - My complaint is that there has been plenty of time for the matter to be forgotten. If justice is to be satisfactory in any department of life it is very essential that it shall be meted out promptly. There was no obstacle in the way of this matter being determined by the Parliament. Although early in March the circumstances relating to this ruling by the Chair were fresh in the minds of all honorable members, the heavy volume of business that has since been dealt with by the House since then may have caused many of the details to be forgotten. My motion of dissent from your ruling, Mr. Deputy Speaker, arose as a result of an effort that was made by the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) to move the adjournment of the House to deal with specific matters relating to the health of the community. In this connexion, Standing Order 38 provides that a motion for the. adjournment of the House shall be proposed only under certain conditions. Thi? Standing Order is lengthy. In brief, it provides that an honorable member must rise in his place, and that his motion must be supported by five other honorable members. It does not provide that notice must be given of an honorable member's intention. The relevant portion of Standing Order 38 provides that an honorable member -

.   . before the business of the day is culled on, rising in his place shall propose to move the adjournment for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance (which he shall then state and hand in, in writing to the Speaker-) . . .

He is then given the right to address the House on his motion. The right honorable member for Cowper was refused that permission by you on certain grounds. I again take the gravest exception to the manner in which you drew your authority to reject the right honorable gentleman's petition, because you based it upon the tenth edition of May's Parliamentary Practice, which you cited. The following passage appears at page 241 of that edition -

The Speaker also is bound to apply to these matters the established rules of debate, and to enforce the principle that subjects excluded by those rules cannot be brought forward thereon ; such as a matter under adjudication by a court of law, or matters already discussed during the current session . . .

I should like to know why you had recourse to the tenth edition of May when there is a copy of the fourteenth edition in the Parliamentary Library. Doubtless you would have a copy of that most recent edition in your possession. At page 375 of the fourteenth edition this rule appears -

A motion or an amendment may not be brought forward which is the same in sub stance as a question which has been decided in the affirmative or negative during the current session.

The ruling given by you on that occasion is at variance with that provision to a substantial degree. This pertinent section of the fourteenth edition continues -

The rule may he stated fully as follows: - No question or bill shall be offered in either House that is substantially the same as one on which its judgment has already been expressed in the current session.

This rule varies considerably from the one contained in the tenth edition of May published many years ago, on which you relied.

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