Senate debates

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Statement by the President

Wearing of Campaign Material in the Senate

9:31 am

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

I have a statement regarding a point of order raised by Senator Bernardi yesterday with respect to badges. Holding up newspapers or placards or displaying items such as badges with slogans is disorderly and was ruled as such by President Sibraa and President Reid on numerous occasions. It is also very well established by rulings of past presidents, including President Calvert in 2003, that it is not in order to wear in the chamber T-shirts or other clothing bearing slogans. President Parry ruled it is disorderly for senators to wear garments bearing slogans, regardless of the size of the slogan, on 17 July 2014. Such practices are disruptive of orderly debate as they allow senators to intervene in ways other than by receiving the call from the chair. It would be highly undesirable to have debate in the Senate reduced to the level of displaying such material. The Senate is not a billboard. I believe it is consistent to apply this same principle to attachments to items of clothing.

Consistent with statements I have made over the past year, I distinguish from these rules the wearing of relatively non-contentious lapel-sized ribbons and badges without statements or slogans, a practice which has grown to be accepted over many years now. I understand that senators have strong views on many issues, but debate in the Senate is subject to simple and reasonable rules to maintain order. Senators will be called to order in accordance with these rules. I thank senators.