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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 3 Hansard (27 March) . . Page.. 699..


MR SPEAKER: Standing order 46 states that a person may explain matters of a personal nature, although there is no question before the Assembly; but such matters may not be debated.

Ms McRae: To reinterpret what the Auditor-General says is not a personal explanation. Mr Speaker, with the greatest of respect, to reinterpret now, retrospectively, what the Auditor-General has said has nothing to do with a personal explanation. A personal explanation is a re-examination of something that has been said by someone in the chamber. There are plenty of avenues for Mr Hird to make such a statement; but I ask you, Mr Speaker, to look carefully at this standing order, because what Mr Hird is doing is reinterpreting new information to put an old slur under a new light.

MR SPEAKER: I will listen.

Mr Berry: I will add a bit more grist to the mill, if I may, in respect of the point of order, Mr Speaker. This is a matter that is going to be considered by the Public Accounts Committee anyway, and Mr Hird will have an adequate period of time available to him in due course to respond to the Public Accounts Committee report on the matter. It will be a matter that will come back to this chamber. So, in many ways, he is trying to pre-empt the discussion of that by the committee of inquiry. I repeat, Mr Speaker: If he seeks leave to make a statement, we will give him leave.

MR HIRD: No. I have been wronged. It is very generous of you. I have been wronged. I am not accusing; I am saying that he accused me.

MR SPEAKER: Order! You have only to seek leave, Mr Hird, if that is what you wish; but you will open this up for debate, I would suggest.

Mr Kaine: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I am confused.

MR SPEAKER: So am I.

Mr Kaine: The member has sought to make a personal explanation under standing order 46. We have had three speakers from the other side, before he has even made his statement, questioning the propriety of it. I suggest that you rule that he is entitled to make a statement under standing order 46 and leave it at that.

MR SPEAKER: I am happy to do that, Mr Kaine. However, we have a two-page statement, I think, there. I have been listening to the statement; but I must caution you, Mr Hird.

MR HIRD: I will be guided by you, sir.

MR SPEAKER: If you drift away from the intent of standing order 46, I will rule you out of order. It is then up to you to decide whether you wish to pursue the matter and to seek leave to make a statement, which can then be up for debate in this house. Proceed.


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