14th Parliament · 1st Session
Lynch) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
British Constitutionalcrisis : Question of the King’smarriage.
[8.1]. - I move -
That the Senate at its rising adjourn till 10.30 a.m. to-morrow.
The Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) has received a communication from the Prime Minister of Great Britain stating that he is not in a position to make a statement to the British Parliament to-day, hut anticipates that he will be able to do so to-morrow. The Government therefore expects that it will be able to make a statement to both Houses of the Commonwealth Parliament to-morrow.
– Yesterday, I announced the attitude of the Opposition towards the grave and delicate situation which exists in the Empire, and concluded my remarks in the following words : -
We have no wish or desire in any way to embarrass the Government, nor shall we willingly do so. On the other hand, we shall not silently submit to the Government’s embarrassing either the people of the Commonwealth or the members of His Majesty’s Opposition in this Senate, by any action not sanctioned by the Parliament after the Parliament has been placed in possession of all the facts of the case.
The Opposition objects to the proposed adjournment to-day; especially does it object to the proposal that the Senate shall adjourn until an unusual hour tomorrow. It sees no reason whatever why the Senate should depart from its usual procedure of meeting at 11 a.m. on Fridays.
– I omitted to say that the purpose of the motion is that both Houses of the Parliament shall meet at the same hour so that statements in identical language may be made in both chambers at the same time.
– Another reason may be the Government’s desire to prevent the Opposition in the Senate from doing something which it could do better if it had knowledge of what had taken place in the other chamber.
Members of the Opposition strongly resent, after having been recalled to Canberra, being asked to remain here until the Government, is prepared to tell the Parliament what n government somewhere else in the world has done, and then to ask it to say “ ditto “. I hope that I am speaking not for the Opposition alone, but also for other honorable senators who have some regard for the dignity due to the elected representatives of the people, when I say that I object to being treated in this way. While we are waiting about, with no definite purpose in view, all kinds of things are happening. I wish now to emphasize what I said yesterday in regard to the objection of the Opposition to any attempt being made on the other side of the world to force His Majesty off the throne. The Opposition is of the opinion that no further- adjournment of this Parliament should take place until it has been placed in possession of all the facts relating to the position which has arisen.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. P, J. lynch). - The honorable senator is not entitled to refer to what has not taken place elsewhere; he must confine himself to the motion before the Senate.
– I shall confine my remarks to the position as it exists here in Australia, because, in the view of the Opposition, that is the thing that really matters to this Parliament. It is our duty to decide the attitude of the Senate to the position which has arisen. Australia is no longer a colony, subject to control by Great Britain, but a nation with full rights, including the right of direct access to the King; for it must be remembered that His Majesty is King of Australia as well as King of Great Britain. I repeat that no further adjournment of the Parliament should be contemplated until it has been placed in possession of all the facts. All kinds of rumours are afloat, and all kinds of manoeuvres are taking place. Negotiations are proceeding. The Parliaments of the British dominions, as well as the Parliament of the United Kingdom, should be placed in possession of all the facts before any decision is made.
– The honorable senator must confine his rema’rks to the wisdom or otherwise of adjourning until to-morrow, or some other day, or until 10.30 a.m. or some other hour to-morrow.
– I am discussing the statement of the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) that the Senate should adjourn till 10.30 to-morrow morning because the Prime Minister is not able to say to-day what the position is. Did he refer to the position in Australia, or on the other side of the world? As Leader of the Opposition, I claim my right to deal with every line and syllable of that statement. 1” say now that if it is the intention of the Government to gag “ the Leader of the Opposition, we ‘ on this side, are prepared to allow the electors to judge on which side the balance of justice lies. As I have said, all kinds of rumours are afloat, and all kinds of manoeuvres are taking place. In the streets of Melbourne, newspapers containing the statement that the Government does know the nature of the decision which has been arrived at on the other side of the world are being circulated. The Opposition protests, in the only way open to it, against what is going on, or, more correctly, against what is not going on. In view of the statement of the Leader of the Senate this afternoon, we shall probably be asked to-morrow to come to a decision regarding something which has already been decided. Should that be so, we shall not be in a position to come to an intelligent decision because we have not been placed in possession of any of the facts, let alone all of them.
I shall conclude by moving as an amendment to the motion -
That all the words after “That” be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words: - “ the following resolution be transmitted through His Excellency the Governor-General to His Majesty the King: -
We, the members of the Senate in the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, desire to assure Your Majesty of. our loyalty and allegiance, and to express our earnest hope that Your Majesty will not relinquish the throne’.”
– I rise to a point of order. I direct your attention, Mr. President, to Standing Order No, 366-
Whenever it is deemed proper to present an address ..to- His Majesty or the GovernorGeneral, the same shall be proposed, except in cases of urgency, on motion after notice in the usual manner.
Standing Order No. 367 provides that addresses of congratulation or condolence to members of the Royal Family shall be proposed in a similar manner. The amendment proposes to transmit a resolution to- His Majesty the King through His Excellency the Governor-General, notice of which has not been given as required by Standing Order No. 366. I therefore submit that such an amendment cannot be ‘ moved to a motion which does not require notice. For other reasons, also, the motion is out of order. Standing Order’ No. 417 reads -
No senator shall use the name of His Majesty or of his representatives in this Commonwealth disrespectfully in a debate, nor for the.- purpose of influencing the Senate in its deliberations.
I also suggest that the amendment is out of order because Standing Order No. 419 provides that -
No senator shall digress from the subjectmatter of any question under discussion.
The amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition is not relevant to the subjectmatter of my motion.
– The Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) has moved -
That the Senate at its rising adjourn till 10.30 a,m. to-morrow.
To that motion the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) has moved an amendment to transmit the following resolution to His Majesty : -
We, the members of the Senate of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, desire to assure Your Majesty of our loyalty and allegiance, and to express our earnest hope that Your Majesty will not relinquish the throne.
The Leader of the Senate has directed attention to Standing Order No. 366 which reads -
Whenever it is deemed proper to present an address to His Majesty or the GovernorGeneral, the same shall be proposed, except in cases of urgency, on motion after notice in the usual manner.
– Nothing could be more urgent than this at the moment.
– That standing order is capable of only one meaning, and as notice had not been given, the amendment is out of order.
– Standing Order No. 366 contains the words “ except in cases of urgency.”
– Surely those words must be taken into consideration?
– Apart from that standing order there is a more familiar one which precludes the amendment of the Leader of the Opposition. Standing Order No. 139 provides -
Every amendment must be relevant to the question to which it is proposed to be made.
Clearly an amendment in which loyalty to the throne is expressed is not relevant to a motion to fix the hour of meeting of the Senate. Therefore, I rule that the amendment is out of order.
– Mr. President
Motion (by Senator Foll) put -
That the question be now put.
The Senate divided. (President - Senator the Hon. P. J. Lynch.)
Majority . . 22
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator SirGeorge pearce) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
SenatorCOLLINGS (Queensland) [3.24]. - Apropos of your ruling of a few moments ago, Mr. President, I find that Standing Order 137 says -
A question having been proposed may be amended - ( 1 ) By leaving out certain words only; (2) By leaving out certain words in order to insert or add other words; (3) By inserting or adding words.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. P. J. Lynch). - That is so, and the Standing Orders also prevent the revival of a question which has already been decided by the Senate.
SenatorCOLLINGS. - I merely wish to emphasize that there has been a desire on the part of the Government this after noon to prevent the Opposition from saying what it desires to say on the subject of the adjournment of the Senate. - With my colleagues of the Opposition,’ and other honorable senators, I was on my way to Queensland where I had a political engagement which would have involved my travelling over a considerable area of that State. We were recalled to Canberra, only to find that we are not permitted to express ourselves or to do any business. We are not willing that the Senate should be adjourned from day to day at the whim of the Government, while honorable senators are cooling their heels about the building, with nothing to do of value to the country. We are denied, by the Government, an opportunity to contribute any measure of service to the taxpayers who pay our salaries. I register the objection of the. Opposition to the adjournment of the Senate to an unusual hour and to the tactics adopted by the Government.
Motion (by SenatorFoll) put -
That the question be now put.
– There being more than thirteen senators present; and no dissentient voice, I declare the question resolved in the affirmative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at3.30 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 10 December 1936, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1936/19361210_senate_14_152/>.