Opposition Leaders suspended from the House of Representatives

Parliament house flag post

Opposition Leaders suspended from the House of Representatives

Posted 24/08/2012 by Rob Lundie

On 20 August 2012 Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, was ejected from the House of Representatives. Since Federation no Prime Minister has been suspended or ejected from the House, but Mr Abbott became the fourth Leader of the Opposition to be ordered from the chamber. Three other Opposition leaders have been ordered from the House but their suspensions did not proceed.

The circumstances of Opposition Leaders suspended or ejected from the House are summarised below. Relevant Hansard proceedings are linked to each bolded name.

Tony Abbott (Liberal, NSW)

On 20 August 2012 he was ordered to leave the chamber for one hour by the Deputy Speaker, Anna Burke, for disorderly behaviour. He had failed to withdraw an unparliamentary remark without qualification when asked to do so. He was the first Leader of the Opposition sent from the House under Standing Order 94(a) which allows for a member to be ordered from the Chamber for one hour without requiring a vote of the House.

John Howard (Liberal, NSW)

On 24 September 1986 he was suspended from the service of the House for 24 hours under Standing Order 305 for disregarding the authority of the Chair. He had refused to withdraw an allegation against the Treasurer that he had uttered a 'parliamentary lie'.

Robert Menzies (Liberal, Vic)

On 1 June 1949 he was suspended from the service of the House for the remainder of the day’s sitting under Standing Order 59 for persistently interjecting during a speech by Arthur Calwell. Despite intercessions from Mr Calwell, the Speaker insisted Mr Menzies be suspended.

Joseph Cook (Liberal, NSW)

In the early hours of 18 December 1914 he was suspended from the service of the House ‘until he returns with Mr Speaker’s consent and apologises to Mr Speaker (Charles McDonald)’ under Standing Order 59 for ‘rising and continuing his address to the House though called to order by Mr Speaker, and using language which Mr Speaker considered an insult to the Chair’. Later that day he sent a letter of apology to the Speaker and was permitted to return to the chamber.

Three other Opposition Leaders have been named or ordered from the chamber but their suspension/ejection did not proceed. Summaries of their circumstances are as follows:

Kim Beazley (ALP, WA)

On 24 June 1999 he was ordered from the chamber by the Speaker, Neil Andrew for one hour under Standing Order 304A for interjecting in a disorderly manner. The Speaker had previously issued a general warning and ejected three members. Michael Lee asked the Speaker to reconsider his ruling which he agreed to do if Mr Beazley apologised. This he did and was not required to leave the chamber.

Andrew Peacock (Liberal, Vic)

On 7 September 1984 he was named by the Speaker, Dr Harry Jenkins for defying the Chair. He had insisted on making a statement in response to Prime Minister Bob Hawke's additional answer to an earlier question without notice. Following intercession from Leader of the House, Mick Young, who was reluctant to put the motion for suspension, it was agreed that there was some misunderstanding about procedure, and so the Speaker agreed to let the matter rest.

Bert Evatt (ALP, NSW)

On 25 October 1955 he was ordered to leave the chamber under Standing Order 303 by the Deputy Speaker, Charles Adermann for having continued to interject after warnings had been given by the Chair. He immediately apologised and was not required to withdraw from the House.

Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print


Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice




refugees asylum immigration parliament climate change Australian foreign policy elections social security welfare reform welfare policy school education Indigenous Australians Australian Defence Force health financing taxation women Private health insurance higher education emissions trading Australian Bureau of Statistics employment people trafficking statistics Middle East illicit drugs gambling health reform federal election 2010 income management Medicare disability Sport United Nations Asia politics criminal law Afghanistan health forced labour transport aid Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States federal budget Industrial Relations Carbon Pricing Mechanism dental health Senate Australian Public Service constitution Australian Electoral Commission WADA child protection environment poker machines Australia in the Asian Century steroids National Disability Insurance Scheme detention aged care 43rd Parliament slavery health system OECD ASADA Law Enforcement Australian Federal Police Fair Work Act governance labour force people smuggling debt international relations New Zealand food Australian Crime Commission pharmaceutical benefits scheme electoral reform Census election results UK Parliament Papua New Guinea banking International Women's Day corruption pensions public service reform children's health Aviation federal election 2013 foreign debt gross debt net debt defence capability parliamentary procedure Senators and Members ALP Newstart Parenting Payment multiculturalism Youth Allowance sea farers leadership military history by-election political parties High Court skilled migration voting mental health Federal Court terrorist groups science social media Higher Education Loan Program HECS federal state relations accountability youth paid parental leave same sex relationships coal seam gas customs planning doping crime health risks Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery Special Rapporteur Northern Territory Emergency Response social policy Productivity United Kingdom firearms public policy Population violence against women domestic violence China ADRV terrorism transparency research and development welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation carbon tax mining employer employee renewable energy regional unemployment fishing European Union family assistance United Nations Security Council Australian economy forestry food labelling vocational education and training Drugs welfare systems Indonesia children Constitutional reform local government codes of conduct terrorist financing homelessness Parliamentary remuneration money laundering Trafficking in Persons Report energy social inclusion human rights paternalism election timetable citizenship asylum seekers early childhood education Canada Financial sector national security fuel disability employment Tasmania integrity standards NATO Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse World Trade Organization Australia public health housing affordability bulk billing water health policy Governor-General US economy trade unions export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery question time speaker superannuation public housing expertise climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry regulation Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets animal health middle class welfare Indigenous constitutional recognition of local government referendum consumer laws PISA competition policy royal commission US politics language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition citizen engagement policymaking Australia Greens servitude Trafficking Protocol forced marriage rural and regional alcohol entitlements ministries Hung Parliament social citizenship maritime Iran ANZUS regional students school chaplains federal budget 2011-12 salary Medicare Locals primary care Building the Education Revolution China; Economic policy; Southeast Asia; Africa housing Speaker; House of Representatives; Parliament Defence High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title ACT Indigenous education Norfolk Island External Territories emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding refugees immigration asylum procurement Indigenous health e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament 2015 ABS Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade EU China soft power education Fiji India Disability Support Pension Antarctica Diplomacy by-elections state and territories Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Southeast Asia Israel Palestine asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders prime ministers sitting days First speech defence budget submarines workers Somalia GDP world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission limitation period universities Ireland cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders live exports infant mortality honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC nutrition anti-dumping Rent Assistance obesity evidence law sacrament of confession US presidential election international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements administrative law small business Breaker Morant regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Members suspension workplace health and safety marine reserves hearing TAFE Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing political education Social Inclusion Board early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin sanctions Norway hospitals republic President Barack Obama Presidential visits qantas counselling Korean peninsula Work Choices biosecurity hendra environmental law federalism federation preselection therapeutic goods Therapeutic Goods Administration plebiscites computer games pests suicide nuclear COAG Ministerial Councils floods ADHD stimulant medication advertising electricity extradition conscience votes poverty preventative health rural health coastal erosion Parliamentary Budget Office work-life balance

Show all
Show less
Back to top