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Thursday, 27 February 1975
Page: 892

Mr Ian Robinson (COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES) -I second the nomination of Mr Lucock, the honourable member for Lyne, for the position of Chairman of Committees. His attributes are so well known to honourable members and his record in the past has been so dominant that I am sure he will receive strong support from the House for appointment to this position. Mr Speaker, it has been emphasised this evening that the -reasons for the vacancies which are required to be filled are an unfortunate chain of events. The actions of the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) bring disgrace on him in a very personal sense but, more importantly, because he is Prime Minister his actions seriously compromise the parliamentary institution whose importance cannot be overstated, even though in the British speaking world we accept it as an everyday thing. Any action which undermines the institution must be dangerous- most dangerous. It is for this reason that I suggest to the House that the calibre, background and experience of the honourable member for Lyne must be taken seriously into account when honourable members vote for the election of the Deputy Speaker.

The Prime Minister has shown himself to be completely contemptuous of the institution of Parliament. Therefore it is necessary that we should have occupying the office of Deputy Speaker persons who have a strength and a capacity to withstand this challenge. It is not the first time that we have seen the Prime Minister act in an offhand way and in a manner which disregards the Parliament and its conventions. I am sure that his ignoring of the conventions today is typical of his attitude not only to the Parliament but also to the nation as a whole. Of course this arrogance creates a very serious and rather disturbing situation.

I am sure that the honourable member for Lyne would take every possible action to see that there was impartiality shown not only by those who occupy the chair of this House but also by those who occupy the treasury benches, and this is a necessary thing in the light of what we have experienced today. The effect of the decision of the Prime Minister today is a catastrophe for the parliamentary institution. It now means that the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker, no matter who he is, cannot have confidence in the Prime Minister who, of course, is backed by the sheer weight of numbers, which was evidenced in a vote taken earlier today. Therefore, I believe that the task of the Deputy Speaker, together with that of the Speaker, is under challenge. We want to ensure that this House has someone of competence and capacity occupying the chair at all times. Therefore, the office of Chairman of Committees becomes one of great importance at this moment.

Mr Speaker,I believe that tonight a great responsibility has been thrust upon you, and an equally great responsibility is to be carried by the person who is elected as your deputy. I am very concerned, as I know other honourable members are about this matter. Therefore, I ask the House to give its fullest support to the candidature of the honourable member for Lyne for the office of Chairman of Committees.

Mr SPEAKER -There being no further speakers in accordance with the Standing Orders the bells will be rung for 2 minutes and a ballot taken. (The bells having been rung)-

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Ballot papers will now be distributed. In marking their ballot paper honourable members will write down the name of the candidate for whom they wish to vote. The candidates are: Mr Berinson and Mr Lucock. (A ballot having been taken)-

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The result of the ballot is: Mr Berinson 62 votes, Mr Lucock 56 votes. Mr Berinson is therefore declared elected.

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