11 June 1924

9th Parliament · 2nd Session

The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

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The following papers were presented : -

Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator,&c. -

No. 18 of 1924- Professional Officers’ Association, Commonwealth Public Service.

No. 20 of 1924- Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association; Australian Telegraphists’ Union; Commonwealth Postmasters’ Association; Federated Public Service Assistants’ Association; Australian Postal Assistants’ Union; General Division Officers’ Union of the Trade and Customs Department; Australian Postal Linemen’s Union; and Australian Letter Carriers’ Association.

No. 22 of 1924- Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association.

Audit Act - Transfers of amounts approved’ by the Governor-General in Council - Financial Year 1923-24- Dated 21st May, 1924.

Commerce (Trades Descriptions) Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1924, No. 73.

Excise Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1924, No. 74.

Institute of Science and Industry Act - Second Annual Report of Director, covering period from 1st July, 1922, to 31st December, 1923.

International Labour Conference - Draft Conventions and Recommendations adopted at Third Session, held at Geneva, October-November, 1921 .

Lands Acquisition -Act - Lnnd acquired for Postal purposes -

New South “Wales- The Entrance, Tuggernh Lake.

South Australia - Bute; North Norwood.

Tasmania - Claremont ; Invermay .

Victoria - Blackburn ; Bunyip ; North Geelong; Fakenham Bast.

Western Australia- Mount Hawthorn.

Naval Defence Act - Regulations amended -Statutory Rules 1024, No. 77.

Now Guinea - Ordinances of 1924 -

No. 14 - Fisheries.

No. 15 - Lands Registration.

No. 16- Mining.

No. 17 - Transfer of Land Control.

No. 18- District Courts (No. 2).

Northern Territory - Ordinances of 1924-

No. 8 - Justices’ Appeals.

No. 11- Aboriginals (No. 2).

No. 12 - Deceased Brother’s

Widow’s Marriage.

Public Service Act- Appointment of F. R. Kerr, Department of Health.

Spirits Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1924, No. 75.

War Service Homes Act - Land acquired in New South Wales at Coogee (in lieu of notification presented on 27th March, 1924); AVaverloy.

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Assent reported.

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Bill received from the House of Representatives.

Motion (by Senator Peabob) proposed -

That the Bill be now read a first time.


– No. It is a formal motion.


– I merely wished to enter my protest against the Senate doing business while the House of Representatives is discussing a censure motion.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

BUI read a first time.

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Bill received from the House of Representatives arid (on motion by Senator

Tearoe) read a first time.

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Censure Motion: Conduct of Business

Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed -

That the Senate do now adjourn.

New South Wales

– I am sure that the Government did not t give consideration beforehand to the action they have taken to day. The Senate should either go on with its business, notwithstanding the. fact that a censure motion has been submitted in the House of Representatives, or adjourn without the transaction of any business. If anything is likely to bring this Chamber into ridicule it is when Ministers proceed to deal with Midi business as suits them, and then ask the Senate to adjourn on the pretenoe that it is in accordance with the practice that has been followed during the last 23 years when a no-confidence debate is taking place in the House of Representatives.

Senator PEARCE:
WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; NAT from 1917; UAP from 1931

– In such circumstances formal business has always been transacted.


– I should like the Minister to prove that it has irvor been done. It is my recollection that it has not been done. I have even seen u Minister interrupt the course of a debate in this Chamber and move “ That the Senate do now adjourn” in. consequenceof something that has. transpired in another place. I do not care which procedure is followed, but we certainly should adopt one course or the other; and I protest against the action of the Minister in asking that certain business should be done by the Senate, and then, making a pretence of asking the Senate to adjourn in accordance with the practice adopted when a no-confidence debate is in progress in the House of Representatives. It was absurd for the Government to go on -with any business in this Chamber. They may go out of office, and if there was anything like decent parliamentary representation, they would not remain in power. If there existed among members anything like the spirit of independence that existed among members of Parliaments which I have known, the fact that a Government had paid away a sum of money without the authority of Parliament would put them out of office.

Senator Payne:

– Surely we cannot discuss that matter now.


– If to give away the people’s money to the friends of Ministers without the consent of Parliament is not calculated to put a Ministry out of office, under what conditions can one conceive of a Government being defeated?

Senator Pearce:

– Now we understand why the honorable senator has risen to enter a protest.


– If the Minister is anxious to transact business, I am entitled to transact mine. It cannot be a one-sided arrangement. No Ministry with a spark of honesty would hand over . the people’s money to certain wealthy individuals without parliamentary authority, and I cannot imagine a Minister who belongs to such a Government being anxious to get ready to conduct business as usual. “When a grave charge is hanging over the heads of Ministers, I should imagine he would have the decency not to make a pretence of proceeding with further business. Senator Pearce has been long enough in public lifo to know what should be done, and to act accordingly. He cannot say that the Senate is pressed for time, and that the business he has brought forward is of great importance or urgency. Either the Senate should adjourn when a censure motion is being debated in another place, or it should ignore what is happening elsewhere and carry on with its business. I am to some extent indifferent as to which course is adopted, but I certainly protest against the action of Ministers who follow one course in respect to trivial matters, and then solemnly make the pretence of treating the censure motion submitted in another place seriously, as it should have been so treated at the outset, by asking the Senate to adjourn.

Senator Drake-Brockman:

– The honorable senator is making an awful noise about a very trivial matter.


– The honorable senator by interjecting will only cause me to prolong my remarks. I merely wish to enter my protest against any business being transacted in this chamber whilst a motion of censure is under discussion in another place.


-Brock man. - But I waa protesting against the noise.


– I know that “ a noisy noise annoys an oyster.” I hope that, when the Senate meets to-morrow, the Leader of the Government in this Chamber will either be prepared with business, and will go on with it, no matter what the state of affairs may be in another place, or will intimate that we are back to the old traditions, and that the Senate will transact no business while a vote of censure is under discussion elsewhere. This matter is well worthy of consideration. It is a tradition well worth living up to. As noon as a motion of censure which the Leader of the Government in another place considers is of sufficient importance to be treated seriously has been tabled, it should be an intimation to this Chamber that no business can be transacted here until it has been either carried or rejected. The House that makes or .unmakes Governments should do so. I hope that Ministers in this Chamber will follow what has been a very excellent practice, namely, that when a challenge has been issued by one section in another House against the Government, no business shall be transacted here until the motion has been either carried or negatived. I cannot accept the Minister’s excuse that what has been done to-day is purely formal and of a trivial nature.


-brockman. - The business done here to-day is like the vote of censure in another place - only trivial.


– I am aware, of course, that the Standing Orders will not permit me to discuss what is taking place elsewhere, otherwise I would reply to the honorable senator. But I should like to say that I cannot imagine anything more serious than that a Government should help their friends from the public funds. The charge made in another place against the Government is the most serious that I have ever heard made against any Government. I hope, however, that to-morrow the Minister (Senator Pearce) will have a definite course marked out for the Senate - that he will not be prepared to do just a little business that it suits him to do, and then move the adjournment in the pretence that he does so because the Government have been threatened in another place. At this stage I offer no comment on the fact that, with the servile crowd behind them, the Ministry may be permitted to continue in office after the motion of censure has been dealt with.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 3.14 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 11 June 1924, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.