Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Thursday, 23 August 1906

Mr SPEAKER - I would direct attention to the fact that an honorablemember is permitted to make a personal explanation only by the courtesy of the House. I think that any honorable member who has a personal explanation to make should be permitted to do so as nearly as possible in silence. Interjections are not only disorderly, but tend to waste the time of the House.

Mr Page - If in the course of a personal explanation an honorable member does not adhere to the truth, are we not at liberty to remind him he is departing from the facts.

Mr SPEAKER - An honorable .member in the course of an explanation may, of course, make such statements as he pleases. Should he make any assertions that are not correct, this is not the time to take exception to them.

Sir JOHN FORREST - I have no desire to make any statement that is not absolutely accurate, and if I should bv any inadvertence depart in any respect from the facts I shall be much obliged if honor able members will correct me. Last night the right honorable member for East Sydney accused my colleague, the PostmasterGeneral, .and myself of having entered into a conspiracy to hurl him from office. He stated that the Postmaster-General went to Western Australia for the special purpose of conferring with me in hatching that supposed conspiracy. He also said that I was accustomed to eat dust, or dirt.

Mr Reid - No; I said that the right honorable gentleman had stated so.

Sir JOHN FORREST - I deny that I ever made any such observation. If the honorable member can fasten upon me any statement to the effect that I had done so, I hope that he will do so. He also said that some portfolios had been allotted to members of the present Government before the Governor-General's speech was delivered at the opening of last ses-' sion.

Mr Thomas - What does it matter?

Sir JOHN FORREST - It matters a great deal to me. I solemnly declare that when I entered the Senate Chamber at the opening of last session I had no more idea than the man in the street that we were to be met with a speech, such as that delivered by the representative of the Crown.

Mr Reid - I quite agree with the right honorable gentleman in that.

Sir JOHN FORREST - I absolutely deny that the question of allotting portfolios or of taking office had ever been discussed.

Mr Deakin - Hear, hear !

Sir JOHN FORREST - The right honorable gentleman also insinuated that he had something in reserve that would throw light upon the alleged conspiracy. I challenge him to produce anything that he may have in his cupboard that will reflect in any way upon myself or those with whom I am associated in the Government. The course of conduct followed by the right honorable gentleman may be all very well as an example of the way in which political warfare Should be carried on, but I hope that no one will ever be able to say that I asserted that I held in reserve some information that would reflect upon the character of an honorable member, when I had nothing of the kind. I sympathize with the right honorable gentlemen, or any one else who may have Iven misrepresented, but I would remind him that, while he complains almost daily of being misrepresented, he should not traduce others who throughout their long political career have endeavoured to do their duty and to do right.

Mr SPEAKER - I desire to read the standing order relating to personal explanations. Standing order 260 reads as follo ws : -

A member who has spoken to a question may again be heard, to explain himself in regard to some material part of his speech which has been misquoted or misunderstood, but shall not introduce any new matter, or interrupt any member in possession of the Chair, and no debatable matter shall be brought forward or debate arise upon such explanation.

I must ask all honorable members to keep within that standing order. Otherwise personal explanations will degenerate into irregular, most improper, and unprofitable discussions.

Suggest corrections