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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (8 March) . . Page.. 877..


Authority of Speaker

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer) (3.35): Mr Speaker, if I may speak in support of this motion, the Assembly has done today what it has not done at any stage before in its history. It has repudiated the authority of the Speaker to make a decision on the floor of the house.

Baldly speaking, Mr Speaker, what occurred was that a member made a comment which would be considered unparliamentary. He was asked to withdraw. It was a reflection on the chair. If it had been made about any other member of this place it probably would have been unparliamentary as well, but it was made about the chair. It was asked to be withdrawn and it was not withdrawn. The result was that there was vote to uphold the Speaker's ruling and that vote was lost.

Mr Speaker, if we continue to sit today every decision that you make as Speaker is without foundation. If a member is disruptive or disorderly and in breach of the standing orders, what authority does the Speaker have to bring that member to order, knowing that he, the Speaker, has not the authority to enforce the standing laws against a member in this place? It is outrageous and unacceptable to expect to conduct the business of the house this afternoon when we do not have a Speaker with authority to do so in the course of the afternoon.

Mr Wood: Oh, sit down. Don't you know you are liable to talk too much altogether?

MR HUMPHRIES: I am sorry you see the need to make this personal, Mr Wood, but I am concerned about the reputation of this place. I am concerned about the reputation of this place, Mr Speaker. I was around, Mr Speaker, as were you, Mr Wood, when there were posters in front of the newsagents of this territory referring to this place as the house of farce.

Mr Wood: And you are not to blame for anything. "Holy me." Oh, goodness. Bow to you, Mr Humphries. Bow to you.

Mr Moore: That is not what he said. Why are you so sensitive?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I am not apportioning-

Mr Wood: Don't you lecture me about behaviour. That is what I am saying. Do you hear that?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I am not apportioning blame to anybody in this debate. I am saying that it is very difficult to conduct any further debate in this place today because of the position in which the Speaker has been left. I think it is a mistake to try to do that. By what authority do you expect the Speaker to exercise any power or control over this house in the course of the rest of this today?

Mr Wood: We don't want to hear you. Sit down.

MR HUMPHRIES: I know you don't want to hear, Mr Wood. I suggest you leave if you don't want to hear me.


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