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Wednesday, 22 March 1972
Page: 801


Senator MURPHY (New South WalesLeader of the Opposition) - That course seems to be desirable. It cannot be suggested thatthe rights of any honourable senator are being cut down. This will merely omit the practice of asking for leave. All honourable senators agree that the invariable result in the past has been that the Senate has granted leave.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Item 6 (Procedure in Committee of the Whole on Bills which the Senate may not amend - Standing Order 253)

Senator Sir KENNETHANDERSON (New South Wales - Minister for Health) (5.26) - . The report of the Standing Orders Committee states:

15.   Standing Order 2S3 provides that, in the proceedings on Bills which the Senate may not amend, the Chairman shall (unless otherwise ordered) call on each clause oritem, and ask if any Senator has any request to move thereon. If there be no requests, the Chairman declares the clause or item passed.

16.   It will be noted that each clause or item is not put definitely to the vote. If a question were put, for example - That the vote be agreed to - and that question were resolved in the negative, the Senate would have amended a Bill which it cannot under the Constitution amend. l7. While recognising the constitutional considerations implicit in the provisions of Standing Order 253, the Committee considers that the procedure could be improved, particularly having inmind the situation which arises when the closure is applied. It is recognised that any alteration to the present procedure will require an amendment of the Standing Orders.

18.   After careful consideration, the Committee recommends that that part of Standing Order 253 which reads: "The proceedings in Committee shall be as follows:

The Chairman shall (unless otherwise ordered) call on each clause or item, and ask if any Senator has any request to move thereon.

If no motion for a request is moved, or moved and negatived, the Chairman shall declare the clause or item passed.

If motions for requests are moved and passed, the Chairman shall declare the clause or item passed, subject to the requests being complied with'. be left out and the following inserted in its place:

The proceedings in Committee shall be as follows:

The Chairman shall (unless otherwise ordered) call on each clause or item, and the Question shall be put by the Chairman on each clause or item - "That the clause or item be now passed without requests.".

If motions for requests arc moved and passed, the Chairman shall put a further Question - "That the clause or item be now passed, subject to the requests being complied with.".

In these proceedings Standing Order 265 shall not apply.'.

19.   Attention is drawn to the use of the word now' in the Question - 'That the clause or item be now passed without requests'. Should the Question be negatived, the clause or item would not be negatived or the Bill amended. It would only have been determined that the clause or item be not now' passed without requests and that it is desired that the debate continue. As Standing Order 265 does not apply to these proceedings, the Chair could then again propose the Question to the Committee.

It is some time since we dealt with this matter but I think we all recall that we ran into some heavy weather. I recall that once we got into a disputation with the Chair about this question of a Bill which cannot be amended. It was because of this that the Standing Orders Committee chose to look at the problem involved and to try to find some formula by which it could be solved. It is worth recalling that the members of the Committee are myself, Senator Wright, Senator Murphy, the Leader of the Opposition, the President, Senator Cavanagh, Senator Wilkinson and Senator Withers. It is obvious that we put a lot of time into considering this question in an effort to find a formula which would overcome the difficulties which have confronted us in the past in the Committee of the Whole. Therefore I move:

That the amendment to Standing Order 253 contained in paragraph 18 be agreed to.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Item 7 (Presentation of Committee reports during the adjournment of the Senate - Standing Order 315).

Senator Sir KENNETHANDERSON (New South Wales - Minister for Health) (5.30)- The Standing Orders Committee reported on this matter as follows:

20.   Consideration has been given to a proposal that, during a period of adjournment, a committee be authorised to send its report to the President of the Senate, who in that event should be authorised to print and circulate the report.

21.   In 1969 the Senate Select Committee on the Canberra Abattoir was authorised to send its report to the President of the Senate, who was empowered to give directions for its printing and circulation; and, in such event, the President was required to lay the report upon the Table at the next sitting of the Senate. It was not necessary to use this procedure and the Committee subsequently made ils report to the Senate.

22.   The Standing Orders Committee understands that, in the existing state of the law, there may be doubt whether publication in such circumstances would be absolutely privileged. The matter is being further examined.

The Standing Orders Committee did not come to a conclusion in respect of this matter. Its members ran into an area about which there were varying views. I propose to move only that we take note of paragraphs 20 and 22 of the Standing Orders Committee report and let is be known that we are looking into this matter. It may be that some honourable senator may wish to enter into debate here and that the views expressed will help members of the Committee to clarify their minds when the Committee meets again. I would be delighted to get some reaction to this matter because the Committee will be considering it again. I move:

That the Committee take note of paragraphs 20 and 22.







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