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Thursday, 14 September 1972
Page: 809

Senator O'BYRNE (Tasmania) - Mr President,apropos of the statement you have just made relating to the incident on Tuesday night I draw the attention of the Senate to standing order 447 which states:

Except so far as is expressly provided, these Standing Orders shall in no way restrict the mode in which the Senate may exercise and uphold its powers, privileges, and immunities.

I draw attention to the Hansard report of the proceedings of Tuesday, 12th September, which shows that at the conclusion of the debate during which Senator Georges was discharged from the chamber you stated:

Senator Georges,I suspend you from the service of the Senate. The Usher of the Black Rod will conduct you from the chamber.

I draw the attention of the Senate to the fact that this is a departure from normal procedure. Provision is made that when an honourable senator is suspended from the sitting of the Senate no amendment, adjournment or debate shall be allowed and such a motion shall be immediately put by the President. Standing order 441 points out that if an honourable senator is suspended, on the first occasion his suspension will be for the remainder of the day's sitting. But standing order 332 states:

When a Senator has been suspended he shall not be permitted to enter the Chamber during the period of his suspension. If he does so enter the Chamber during such suspension, the President shall order the Usher of the Black Rod to remove him from the Chamber.

Standing order 444 states:

If any Senator shall wilfully disobey any Order of the Senate, he may be ordered to attend in his place, or, if he is under suspension, at the Bar, to answer for his conduct; and, unless his explanation be deemed satisfactory, the Senate may direct the Usher of the Black Rod to take such a Senator into custody.

My objection is that we are departing from the specific standing orders when the President orders the Usher of the Black Rod virtually to take into custody a senator who has been discharged from the services of the Senate. Not only are the services of the Usher of the Black Rod being enlarged, but also the authority of the Senate is being usurped with a ruling like that. I would like this matter to be explained.

The PRESIDENT - I will give consideration to the matter in the same terms as I gave consideration to the matter raised by Senator Cavanagh earlier and I will reply to the honourable senator.

Senator Georges - Mr President, may I make this point -

The PRESIDENT - To what are you addressing yourself?

Senator Georges - I am addressing myself to what Senator O'Byrne has stated.

The PRESIDENT - Order!

Senator Georges - I seek leave to make a statement.

The PRESIDENT - Is leave granted?

Senator Greenwood - No.

The PRESIDENT - Leave not being granted,I am afraid that you cannot make a statement.

Senator Georges - IfI may, it is important because, if what Senator O'Byrne has stated is correct, I am still suspended. Am I or am I not still suspended?

The PRESIDENT - Order! Senator Georges you have sought leave to make a statement and leave has been refused. Therefore, you cannot address yourself to the matter.

Suspension of Standing Orders

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