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Thursday, 7 May 1931

Senator DUNN - Do I understand, sir, that that practice has been in operation during the two years I have been a member of this chamber?

The PRESIDENT - Such questions usually take the following form: - "Has the attention of the Minister been drawn?" or "Has the Minister seen a statement in a certain newspaper to such and such an effect?"

Senator DUNN - I commenced my question with the words, "I desire to ask the Leader of the Government (Senator Barnes) if his attention has been drawn to the Prime Minister's protest in the Canberra Times V I then proceeded to read the paragraph.

The PRESIDENT - Questions should be put to Ministers for the purpose of seeking information, and not with the object of giving it. Standing Order 98 provides -

After notices have been given, questions may be put to Ministers of the Crown relating to public affairs and to other senators relating to any bill, motion, or other public matter connected with the business on the noticepaper of which such senators may have charge.

Standing Order 99 reads -

In putting any such question, no argument or opinion shall be offered, nor inference, nor imputation made, nor any fact stated, except so far as may be necessary to explain such question. . .

I suggest that the honorable senator should place his question on the noticepaper. I should then have an opportunity to consider it and, if necessary, so to amend it that it would comply with the Standing Orders.

Senator DUNN - In view of the fact that I was quoting from a newspaper, I should like to know if I will be in order in ascertaining whether, in the opinion of Mr. Shakespeare, the editor of that newspaper, the statement is correct?

The PRESIDENT - Certainly not.

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