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Thursday, 27 November 1913

The PRESIDENT - The questions do not appear on the notice-paper, because that would be contrary to parliamentary practice. Honorable senators must be aware that, where our own Standing Orders are silent, or do not give a specific direction, we are guided by the practice of the House of Commons. On page 247 of the 11th edition of Sir Erskine May's text-book on Parliamentary Practice, which is usually taken as our guide, this passage appears -

As regards questions addressed to the Speaker, no written or public notice of such a question is permissible ; nor can any appeal be made to the Chair by a question, save on points of order as they arise, or on a matter which urgently concerns the proceedings of the House.

As Senator O'Loghlin's questions do concern the proceedings of the Senate, I have prepared answers to them. The questions of which I have a note are as follow: -

1.   What has been the practice of the Senate hitherto when a motion of want of confidence in the Government has been pending in another branch of the Legislature?

2.   Is there any precedent for the Senate proceeding with Government business while a censure motion remains undetermined?

3.   What has been the practice generally of Second Chambers throughout the British Dominions under such circumstances?

The answers to the questions are as follow : -

1.   The following record shows the. practice of the Senate while motions of censure are under discussion in the other House : -


2.   The Senatehas, more than once, met to pass a Supply Bill whilst a censure motion was pending ; and in connexion with the case in 1909, which shows that the Senate met on several occasions, it appears that the Ministerial policy was under discussion in this Chamber, and the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Millen) asked the Senate to continue to sit to deal with that business, for reasons which he then stated.

3.   A search in Parliamentary books of reference does not disclose the action of second chambers generally in such cases ; but Bourinot, in his Parliamentary Procedure and Practice, refers to the manner of dealing with motions of want of confidence in the Lower Houses in Canada and Great Britain (see pages 379-381).

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