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Tuesday, 29 August 1972
Page: 770


Mr BEAZLEY (Fremantle) - I wish to make a personal explanation.


Mr SPEAKER -Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


Mr BEAZLEY - Yes, an action of mine has been misrepresented. On Friday last, in my absence, the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) made a statement concerning the official documents of the Australian Labor Party. He said that they showed that the education committee of the Australian Labor Party at the Launceston Conference had discharged a motion from Queensland relating to the phasing out of State aid on the ground that it was already covered by the existing policy of the Labor Party for an Australian schools commission. I was the mover of the motion for the discharge. This was stated once before by the Minister and on that occasion I had to correct it as a misrepresentation. Therefore, I reiterate what I said on the previous occasion, that there is no Labor Party policy concerning a schools commission which uses the expression 'the phasing out of educational expenditure for private schools'. What it says is 'educational expenditure according to need'. The minutes show 'that I moved for the discharge of that item.

A paper from the education committee of the Party does not constitute the minutes, nor does the name 'Queensland' on top of it mean, as the Minister suggested, that the resolution was endorsed by the Queensland Branch of the Labor Party. Alone among the 6 States of the Commonwealth, Queensland forwards to the Federal Conference of the Labor Party every item from every branch in Queensland. More often than not the Queensland delegation votes against those items. It takes the view that every branch has the right of access to the Conference. When my motion to discharge the resolution was moved it was seconded by Mr Kane of the Queensland Branch. The terminology used by the education committee, as I pointed out at the Conference, allowed the ambiguity of interpretation which the Minister has picked up. Consequently, without any qualification whatever, I moved that the item be discharged.


Mr Daly - I rise to order. This morning there have been numerous personal explanations, brought about, I contend, mainly by the attitude of the Government in misrepresenting the views of honourable members on this side of the chamber. Mr Speaker, would I be right in suggesting that you might ask the Government to be honest and forthright instead of misrepresenting our views, and thus save the time of the Parliament?


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member would be out of order in asking me to do this. If I did this on one side of the chamber I would have to do it on the other and the Parliament would not work. I take the word of honourable members - as Speaker I must do this - and I intend to carry on that practice.


Mr Cope - Mr Speaker, may I suggest that personal explanation time now close so that we can go on with the Budget.


Mr SPEAKER - That is a very good idea.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Mr Speaker, I crave your indulgence to make a very short request of you. What has happened today is unfortunate and we should try to avoid it in future. I suggest that you might consider this matter during this week and perhaps make a statement to the Parliament after we reassemble to indicate-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! There is no point of order.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - No, but would you do it?


Mr SPEAKER -Order! No, I will not do what the honourable member for Hindmarsh has requested. I am here to protect the rights of individual members and the curtailment of the rights of individual members to make a personal explanation to show how they have been misrepresented would not be a course of which I would approve. However, I suggest that immediately the House reassembles after the elections there should be a thorough examination of the Standing Orders relating to the powers of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. I believe-


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - We will get you to come down-


Mr SPEAKER -If the honourable member for Hindmarsh does not cease interjecting while I am on my feet and speaking after he has asked me a question he will find himself outside the House and unable to listen to what I have to say. I believe that the Speaker of this House should have powers similar to those of the Speaker of the House of Commons. If he did I believe the House would work more smoothly and to the benefit of honourable members.







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