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Tuesday, 24 February 1959

Motion (by Mr. Hasluck) - by leave - proposed -

That Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, the Chairman of Committees, the Leader of the House, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Clark, Mr. Costa, Mr. Drury, Mr. E. James Harrison, Mr. Makin, and Sir Earle Page be members of the Standing Orders Committee; five to form a quorum.

Mr. LUCHETTI(Macquarie [5.50].- I sincerely trust that the appointment of this committee will be more than a mere parliamentary formality. There is a real and urgent need for the Standing Orders Committee to meet regularly so as to bring parliamentary procedures into line with the altered conditions of present day life. The committee should be an active one. Urgent consideration should be given to our parliamentary requirements.

I make one special plea, perhaps mostly on behalf of the newly elected honorable members, but almost as much on behalf or other honorable members. There is a deplorable lack of knowledge of standing orders among honorable members generally. Those gaps in our knowledge could be rectified. We could become better informed if steps were taken to have lectures given to honorable members, perhaps in the committee room or elsewhere, by the courteous and efficient Clerk of the House, Mr. Turner. I suggest that you, Mr. Speaker, might discuss this matter with Mr. Turner, so that he might address honorable members and give them an idea of the workings of Parliament, the operation of the committee system, and just how honorable members might address the House on the occasions of the reading of a paper and the various phases of debate. I feel that quite a number of members, especially those sitting on the back benches, would like to say something on occasions about a matter that has been introduced into the chamber, but they are reluctant to do so because they wonder whether they are in order and entitled to speak. They tend to rely on honorable members sitting on the front benches, who may be satisfied with the situation, whereas an honorable member on a back bench may have something worth while to contribute to the debate if only he were aware of his rights at that particular time. Consequently, I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that you might discuss this matter with Mr. Turner, who is, I know, very kind, considerate, and helpful to honorable members generally.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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