Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1270..
MR SPEAKER (continuing):
anticipating debate on an item listed on the notice paper. I am therefore ruling that Mr Pratt's MPI is out of order as it contravenes standing order 130.
Mr Pratt: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: firstly, following discussion with my party, we decided to run with this MPI 24 hours before we were aware of Ms Tucker's motion. Secondly, the subject of the MPI is entirely separate from what is described in Ms Tucker's motion. In that sense, I believe that I have not acted in a pre-emptive fashion. We had an intention to run this very urgent issue prior to the issuing of the notice paper which lists Ms Tucker's motion.
MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Pratt. There is no point of order. Unless you want to move a substantive motion, I do not want to have a debate on whether or not I should have ruled on the issue in the way that I did.
But let me say this: I heard what you had to say about your intentions and when you arrived at the decision. I cannot anticipate what you might have had in your head when I make my ruling. All I can do is look at the MPI as against other issues which are listed on the notice paper. I say that in response to what you have indicated here this morning.
Mr Humphries: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: could I ask under which standing order discussion of a matter of public importance may not take place?
MR SPEAKER: Standing order 130 says:
A matter on the Notice Paper must not be anticipated by a matter of public importance, an amendment or other less effective form of proceeding.
Mr Humphries: Let me make the point, Mr Speaker, that the matter of public importance deals with the issue of drug usage by high school students in the ACT.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Humphries, I have already indicated that I am not going to get into a debate about this. I have already made my ruling in relation to the matter, and the only option open to you is to move a substantive motion. There is no point of order.
Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, if you are prepared to listen to and consider what I want to say, I will be happy to put my argument.
MR SPEAKER: All right. Go ahead.
Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, the matter on the notice paper deals with the issue of the problematic use of drugs in the community. This is a very broad issue and it covers many facets. The issue that Mr Pratt wants to put forward is a very significant but small subset of that broader issue, and that is the use of drugs by high school students alone.
The use of drugs by people in the community must cover hundreds or maybe thousands of people. The use of drugs by high school students may be much smaller-I hope it is-than that total number. The MPI is obviously related to the other issue but, with due