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Tuesday, 15 August 1972
Page: 139


Mr SPEAKER - Order! The motion is that these papers be printed. I do not think this gives any member, including the Leader of the Opposition, the right to cover matters outside the scope of the motion or to talk about the economy or what happened last year. The motion is quite clear. It is that the papers be printed. I think the Leader of the Opposition should confine himself to the terms of the motion.


Mr WHITLAM - I shall, Sir. I believe you will appreciate that I am talking in every instance about these papers and their contents. In lost production alone the Treasurer cost us, as the papers reveal, $800m. It can be traced in the various tables on revenue and taxation in these papers. But, of course, the figures in the papers say nothing about the human cost, the loss of morale, dignity and security which unemployment creates-


Mr Chipp - Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. 1 ask for a ruling. The motion before the Chair is that the papers tabled by the Treasurer be printed. The Leader of the Opposition, after acceding to your ruling, is proceeding to debate the contents of the papers and to canvass the matters therein. May I have your ruling, Mr Speaker, as to whether he is in order in doing that?


Mr SPEAKER -I must say that on a motion that papers be printed it is most unusual to have a debate covering the whole range of national income, Commonwealth income tax statistics and the cost to the economy. The Leader of the House has asked me for a ruling on this matter. I will say that the Leader of the Opposition will be out of order if he continues in this vein. The motion is that these papers be printed and this does not entitle any person in this chamber to debate the subject matter of these papers. Other opportunities are given to debate those matters. I think the Leader of the Opposition knows that it is not the practice of the House to debate those matters at this time.


Mr WHITLAM - I believe, Sir, you will observe that I will carefully keep within the Standing Orders however novel the application of them may be to members of the Government parties.


Mr SPEAKER -The Leader of the Opposition will not canvass my ruling. The motion before the House at this time is that the papers be printed. I will not allow any honourable member to debate the contents of these papers, as the Leader of the Oppoosition is now attempting to do.


Mr WHITLAM - The very concessions and benefits provided in these papers tell part of the story of the tragedy of the last year.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! If the Leader of the Opposition continues in this vein, I will have to ask him to resume his seat.


Mr Barnard - Mr Speaker-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I am speaking to the Leader of the Opposition at the moment. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat.


Mr Barnard - I wish to raise a point of order.


Mr SPEAKER -The honourable member may do so in a moment. The motion that the papers be printed does not allow a full debate on national income, government securities, Commonwealth payments or Commonwealth income tax statistics. This has been a long standing custom and practice of this House and I intend to uphold it.


Mr Barnard - I rise to order. I do not want to canvass your ruling, Mr Speaker, but there is precedent in this House for debate on a motion that a paper be printed. You have indicated to the House that this is an unusual procedure, that it has not been adopted before; but that does not convince me that it is not correct. I would like you to indicate to the House the Standing Order under which you are preventing the Leader of the Opposition from making the points that he proposes to make in line with the motion that has been moved by the Treasurer. The House is entitled to hear under which standing order you make your ruling.


Mr SPEAKER - Now that the honourable member has asked me for the relevant standing order I shall read it to him. It is standing order 322. I will read it fully for the benefit of the House:

On any paper being presented to the House as provided in this chapter a Minister or an Assistant Minister may move without notice either or both of the following motions - 1. That the paper be printed; 2. That the House take note of the paper: Provided that if the motions are not moved by a Minister or an Assistant Minister at the time of the presentation of the paper, they may be moved, on notice, on a subsequent day.


Mr Barnard - Speaking to the point of order I have raised, it is quite clear now that you have been assisted in interpreting the Standing Orders in the way that I have interpreted them in this House in the past. The motion that the House take note of a paper has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition and by Ministers in this House over the years. According to your interpretation there has to be a motion either that the paper be printed or that the House take note of the paper. Every time that a Minister moves in this House that the House take note of the paper every honourable member in this House is enabled to debate that motion. I do not want to canvass your ruling but with due deference to you I make the point that in view of your own interpretation of this standing order the Leader of the Opposition is in order. I believe that he was quite correct in giving his interpretation of the papers in the way he was giving it.


Mr SPEAKER -I repeat for the benefit of the House that under standing order 322 the 2 alternatives are a motion that the paper be printed or that the House take note of the paper.


Mr Barnard - I shall move that the House take note of the paper.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The Deputy Leader of the Opposition may not do that. There is a motion already before the Chair.


Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Mr Speaker-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member cannot speak until I have finished. The motion that the House take note of the paper is one alternative. The question before the House, that the paper be printed, is another alternative. The Minister at the table has moved that the paper be printed, not that the House take note of the paper. If the Minister had moved that the House take note of the paper a debate would have been in order, as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has suggested. But the Minister has moved that the paper be printed and, therefore, I cannot allow a full debate.


Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I oppose the motion for the reason that all or most of it, or the most relevant part of it, has already been published by Mr Alan Reid.


Mr SPEAKER - I appreciate the honourable member's political nous but he is out of order.


Mr Turner - I rise to order to make a simple observation. I have been in this Parliament and in a State Parliament-

Opposition members - For too long.


Mr Turner - For much too long - for 35 years - to allow this procedure to pass without comment. In those 35 years - yes, indeed, too long - the procedure that has always been followed has been that a Budget Speech has been made and the Leader of the Opposition has asked for the adjournment of the debate until a week later. He may the next day or that night have issued some preliminary statement to the Press but I have never known in 35 years the kind of procedure that the Leader of the Opposition is attempting-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member is proceeding to debate the matter.


Mr Turner - I am speaking to the point of order.


Mr SPEAKER -The honourable member for Bradfield will state his point of order. He is not entitled to debate the whole ambit of the papers.


Mr Turner - I am introducing the submission I wish to make in support of my point of order. My recollection is that 2 or 3 years ago- I have forgotten just how long ago it was - certain new procedures were introduced in this House. Now we have Appropriation Bills whereas we used to deal with these matters in Committee.


Mr SPEAKER


Mr Barnard - I rise to order. You have ruled that the Leader of the Opposition is out of order in debating the motion that the paper be printed. Quite clearly the honourable member for Bradfield is endeavouring to make a speech on the subject. If he is allowed to make a speech that will be the proper course for other members of this House. He should make his point of order and then let us reply to it.


Mr SPEAKER -I suggest to the honourable member for Bradfield that he make his point of order and not debate the question.


Mr Turner - Very well. Let me put it as simply as I possibly can. I do not believe the new procedures were intended to alter the time honoured procedures of the past and I do not believe the present Standing Orders seek to achieve that purpose.


Mr Hurford - That is not a point of order and you know it.


Mr Turner - 1 have been here a lot longer than you have. You know very little about it.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Bradfield and other members on my right will cease interjecting. The Leader of the Opposition has the floor.


Mr WHITLAM - Mr Speaker, you have based your ruling on standing order 322, which was amended as recently as 13th April this year. I was on the Standing Orders Committee which suggested this amendment which was adopted by the House. I do not believe that any honourable members appreciated that under this standing order which authorises 2 motions, firstly that the paper be printed or secondly that the House take note of the paper, that debate was precluded on the former but permitted on the latter. We assumed that debate would be permitted on either of those motions included in the same standing order. May I say with respect, Sir, that you seem to be giving the ruling that this is one of those motions which are listed in standing order 86 on which there can be no debate. You have precluded me from giving arguments in favour of printing the papers; you have precluded my colleague, the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron), from giving arguments why they should not be printed. I suggest with respect that it is equally open to debate the motion that the paper be printed under standing order 322 as it is to debate the motion that the House take note of the paper under standing order 322.


Mr SPEAKER - The honourable member for Hindmarsh did not attempt to debate the motion, so I did not prevent him. Secondly, 1 have given a ruling on this matter and I think the Leader of the Opposition knows that what I have outlined has been the custom and the practice of the House for many years. The standing order was framed in that context. I inform the House that I was Chairman of the Committee that considered the standing order as well as being in attendance at its sitting, and that is the interpretation that I put on the standing order.


Mr Scholes - I take the point of order that on other occasions debate has taken place in this House on motions that papers be printed. It is a regular practice to debate reports of the Publications Committee and it was previously the practice to debate reports of the Printing Committee on motions to print the papers. I do not think there is any difference between that situation and the present circumstances. As there is no prohibition in the Standing Orders, I ask you, Mr Speaker, under what standing order you say that speaking on his motion to print the papers is out of order when on other occasions it is allowed.


Mr SPEAKER -I want to make it quite clear that this Standing Order was amended in April 1972, but standing order 322 was also amended in 1963. I draw the attention of the House to the publication Short Description of Business and Procedures', which states on page 15 in relation to motions on presentation:

The passing of the motion That the paper be printed' enables the House to print it as a parliamentary paper. The motion That the House takes notice of the paper' enables a debate on the subject matter of the paper to take place.


Mr Scholes - I take the point of order that it must be open to the House to discuss whether or not it is advisable that a paper be printed as a parliamentary paper; otherwise the resolution itself is a farce.


Mr SPEAKER -I think I have been as explicit as I can be.







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