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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (2 May) . . Page.. 1319..


Wednesday, 2 May 2001

MR SPEAKER (Mr Cornwell) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Administration and Procedure-Standing Committee

Report on proposed amendments to standing orders

MR SPEAKER: I present a report of the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure entitled Proposed Amendments to Standing Orders relating to Disorder, Questions without Notice and Voting.

MR CORBELL (10.32): I move:

That the report be noted.

Mr Speaker, the report you have presented on behalf of the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure this morning is the result of a reference from the Assembly at its last sitting. The proposed amendments to the standing orders were referred to the committee by the Assembly on Tuesday, 27 March. That preceding sitting Thursday the Assembly had adjourned much earlier than anticipated following the naming of a member for refusing to withdraw offensive words, and, the question that the member be suspended from the service of the Assembly being negatived, the votes being equal.

The Manager of Government Business, Mr Moore, had proposed to the Assembly amendments to the standing orders relating to disorder. Mr Kaine had moved amendments to the motion proposing time limits on questions without notice and answers, and also proposing that each alternate call of the Assembly for a vote be conducted in reverse alphabetical order. Also, the motion of Mr Moore and the amendments moved by Mr Kaine were referred to the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure for report by today.

The committee conducted an inquiry, Mr Speaker, and the committee sought the views of all members who were not members of committee. A number of members representing parties, and Independent and crossbench members, responded to that request. During the committee's deliberations the committee reviewed and examined our current procedures, as well as reviewing practices in other Australian jurisdictions as well as New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Canada.

I would like to move now to the report itself, Mr Speaker. Mr Moore proposed amendments to standing orders 202 and 203. The committee recognised that the proposed amendments incorporated provisions found in many other jurisdictions in Australia and elsewhere, and the uses that are made and could be made of the procedures proposed. The committee did, however, have misgivings on the merits of introducing the procedure in the Assembly. The committee was of the view that the adoption of the procedure would be an overreaction, was on the whole unnecessary, and would send the


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