The Advertiser (Adelaide), 14 Nov 1968, p3

Labor M.P.s Seek To Quit Committee

Two Labor Members of the Legislative Council yesterday asked to be relieved of duty on the Select Committee on the Scientology (Prohibition) Bill.

The are the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Shard) and Mr. Bevan who sought leave to make a personal explanation immediately the House began its sitting.

Mr. Shard said: "The action taken by this House yesterday has led me to consider seriously my position as a member of the Select Committee enquiring into scientology.

"I have now had an opportunity to consult with my colleagues in the Parliamentary Labor Party and it is with their unanimous approval that I now make known to the House my desire to be discharged as a member of this committee.

"The censure motion carried yesterday, in my view, interfered with the civil rights of an individual who had given evidence before the committee.

"This person was given no opportunity to argue his case before the House ..."

"Not In Order"

At this stage, the President of the Legislative Council (Sir Lyell McEwin) said that Mr. Shard was not in order in criticising decisions of the House.

Mr. Shard said he wanted to give his reasons for seeking to withdraw from the committee. He regretted that under the President's ruling, he was not allowed to give these reasons.

Mr. Bevan then asked to be relieved of his duties on the committee and suggested that the applications be dealt with concurrently.

The Chief Secretary (Mr. DeGaris) moved that the matter be adjourned until the next day, but the Opposition pressed for a division on whether the matter should be taken on motion later in the day or adjourned until the next day.

The division on whether the debate should be taken on motion later the same day was lost seven votes to 10 with the four Opposition Members receiving support from three LCP Members - the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Story), Mr. Dawkins and Sir Norman Jude.

Those supporting the adjournment until the following day were the Chief Secretary, the Minister of Local Government (Mr. Hill), who is chairman of the Select Committee, Dr. Springett and Messrs. Hart, Gilfillan, Kemp, Rowe, Whyte, Potter and Geddes.


Mr. Shard completed his personal explanation outside the Chamber.

He said: "This person (referring to Mr. K. E. Klaebe, of Ridgehaven, who appeared before the Bar of the Legislative Council on Tuesday) was given no opportunity to argue his case before the House. Although he had grounds for believing that the chairman of the committee (Mr. Hill) was partial as far as the matter under enquiry was concerned.

"The House did not establish, nor did it even discuss whether this individual had a right to challenge on any grounds the membership of the committee.

"I believe that he should have this right and that the action of the House on Tuesday prevents any individual from exercising effectively this right in the future.


"The course that has been taken must hamper the enquiries of any future committee of this House in that members of the public have now been discouraged from stating openly their views.

"The continued enquiries of the current Select Committee can, in the circumstances, serve no useful purpose."

Mr. Shard said he held no brief for scientology, but whenever an individual was called to the Bar of a House of Parliament, that House acted as prosecutor, judge and jury.

The Select Committee comprises Mr. Hill, Mr. Shard, Dr. Springett and Mr. Rowe (LCP) and Mr. Bevan.

It is due to report to the House on Tuesday, but this date may be put forward today and new members appointed to replace Messrs. Shard and Bevan.

"Greatest Blot"

In the Assembly, Mr. Virgo (ALP) described the Council's reporimand of Mr. Klaebe on Tuesday as "the greatest blot on the democracy of this country.

"I hope we never see a sham of the kind we saw yesterday again," he said.

He hoped that the report of the "kangaroo court" in the morning's paper adequately informed the public of the "farcical position" that took place in the Legislative Council.

The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Dunstan) in a broadcast last night said that the action of the Legislative Council was an interference with the normal civil rights of citizens.

In any court in SA, if a person was concerned by reason of some previous statement or activity that whoever was presiding was not impartial, he had the right to raise this matter before the court.

This was all that had happened on this occasion.

Yet the conservative Members of the Legislative Council had chosen to deal with a man who had raised this objection in a perfectly proper form by condemning him without charge or without hearing him in his own defence.


"This is completely contrary to natural justice," Mr. Dunstan said.

"If this sort of thing happens in the Parliament, who will feel safe to appear before a select committee of the Parliament?"

Mr. Dunstan said it was not a question of what one thought about scientology: no Labor Party Member supported scientology.

[Press articles on Scientology]