|About this Item||Speakers||Fraser Mr Andrew
||Business||Censure, Members, Suspension of Orders
Motion of Censure
Mr FRASER (Coffs Harbour) [4.08 p.m.]: I move:
That this House censures the Speaker for his display of bias in:
(1) adopting the practice of prejudging the subject of a point of order contrary to Standing Order 105 (2);
(2) failing to uphold the right of a member, under Standing Order 104, to take a point of order;
(3) failing to assert the Chair's authority, under Standing Order 105, by not requiring the Premier's concurrence with that standing order;
(4) deliberately provoking the circumstances under which he then used Standing Order 288 against the honourable member for Coffs Harbour; and
(5) ignoring a member rising on a point of order until the Premier had finished his answer.
This Parliament, the mother of parliaments in Australia, has long had a fine tradition of responsible representative government. From time to time we engage in robust debates and thrust and parry as we exchange our different views and represent those who put their trust in us.
Like members of Parliament, Speakers come and go and leave their imprint on this Parliament. We look to the Speaker to deliver fair and reasonable rulings, free from party political bias and based on longstanding Westminster traditions. I am conscious of the fact that you, Mr Speaker, are required from time to time to exercise discipline on members who may place themselves outside the rules of this House and to administer the rules according to your tolerance and authority. Nevertheless, the Parliament deserves consistency in rulings and fairness in the treatment of all members. It does not give me pleasure to draw your attention, Mr Speaker, to the inconsistency of consideration you extend to various members. I point out that I have never before participated in a motion of dissent or censure in this House. A member of the Government benches frequently attends this House in a condition that renders him incapable of properly representing his constituents.
Mr McManus: Point of order: This is a censure motion against the Speaker of the House. It is intolerable that once again an Opposition member has raised an issue about another member in this House. That is totally against the rules of this House. I ask that the member be drawn back to the substance of the censure motion. The honourable member for Coffs Harbour continually interjects and needs censuring most of the time.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The honourable member for Heathcote makes the point that members should confine their remarks within the parameters of the motion. I ask the honourable member for Coffs Harbour to do that.
Mr FRASER: I draw your attention, Mr Speaker, to the way you handled the House yesterday and again today. During question time today when questions were asked of the Premier, the honourable member for East Hills, the honourable member for Fairfield, the Minister for Transport and the honourable member for Blacktown interjected very loudly. The tape of today's question time will show exactly what happened. You placed the honourable member for Epping on three calls to order, and eventually placed the honourable member for Blacktown on two calls to order. When question time began today, the honourable member for Fairfield was sitting at the back of the House singing and clapping, which you chose to ignore.
Mr McManus: Point of order: I was in the House at question time today and I refute what the honourable member for Coffs Harbour has said. I heard you, Mr Speaker, call the honourable member for Fairfield to order. It is no good for the member in a censure motion on the Speaker to tell lies to the House.
Mr J. H. Turner: There is no point of order. Sit down!
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I will remove the Deputy Leader of the National Party if he continues to carry on like that. I place the Deputy Leader of the National Party on three calls to order. If the honourable member for Fairfield wishes to make a personal explanation he will have an opportunity to do so after this debate has concluded. No point of order is involved.
Mr FRASER: I draw the House's attention to the motion to censure the Speaker for his display of bias. Once again, you display bias, Mr Speaker. The member did not take a point of order pursuant to a standing order, yet you placed the Deputy Leader of the National Party on three calls to order. The decisions made by the Speaker in this Parliament are recorded in a book called Decisions from the Chair. When I speak further on this debate next week I will refer to decisions in that book. Under the Westminster system the Speaker's decisions are circulated to every Westminster-style Parliament. The decisions that you make—to which I will refer—expose you and this Parliament to ridicule on the basis that you do not display equity and fairness.
Even today in this House when points of order were taken according to the standing orders you ruled that no point of order was involved. When the members who took those points of order drew your attention to the relevant standing order you chose to ignore them. Once again the tapes of yesterday's and today's proceedings will show that I was evicted unfairly. I acted correctly according to standing order 104. Because the Premier chose to ignore my taking of a point of order and because of your biased attitude in this House, I was ejected from this House unfairly and with a great deal of bias.
Mr McManus: Unfairly?
Mr FRASER: Once again the honourable member for Heathcote interjects.
Mr McManus: You are forever interjecting.
Mr FRASER: Listen to him now. The member, who invented the word "interjecting", cannot keep his mouth shut in this place. Yet he has been called to order maybe twice in this Parliament.
Mr McBride: Point of order: Mr Speaker, I draw your attention to the fact that it is now 4.15 p.m. Pursuant to standing orders it is now time for private members' statements.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! There is still one minute to go.
Mr FRASER: Thank you for the fairness of your ruling, Mr Speaker. In the past when a Government member's time has been wasted by members opposite you have made a ruling, because of the numbers, that extra time be allocated. I have now lost approximately 30 seconds because of the honourable member for The Entrance, who is a bit of a vacuum in this place. He makes a lot of noise, like an empty drum. This shows once again inequity in your rulings.
Pursuant to sessional orders business interrupted.