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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 2 Hansard (8 March) . . Page.. 498..


MR PRATT (continuing):

Criminal activity in Campbell-Record of meeting between Mr Pratt and Belinda Hill/Riley, dated 27 February 2006.

I seek leave to make a statement.

Leave not granted.

Standing orders-suspension

MR SMYTH (Brindabella-Leader of the Opposition) (5.33): I move:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent Mr Pratt from making a statement.

It is standard practice in this place for members tabling documents to seek leave and be given the courtesy in tabling the documents of making a supporting statement. We constantly give leave to members of the government to table documents and make statements. That is a courtesy that we constantly extend to them. The last time this happened and Mr Corbell attempted to stop members of the opposition making statements, we applied the same rules to him. If we have to do that here, we will do so.

This place normally works a little bit more harmoniously than it has today because courtesy is extended. I certainly do not see any reason that Mr Pratt, who was gagged in the last debate by Mr Corbell, should not have an opportunity to table a document, as requested by the Assembly, and say a few words to that document. That is a normal courtesy that we extend to each other. The fact that the last debate was gagged and that the Chief Minister is now trying to stop Mr Pratt putting his side of the story on the table shows to me that we have a problem with the Chief Minister and his view of what is going on in this place.

It is entirely appropriate for members to make a statement in regard to documents. It is entirely appropriate for the Assembly to know the context of those documents and the explanation of the member as to why he is tabling those documents so that people can read them in that context. For instance, there might be names, addresses and phone numbers of victims, perpetrators or police officers who were spoken to and Mr Pratt might want to ask people to use the documents wisely and not expose victims, perpetrators or police officers. There is any number of reasons that members would wish to speak to a document as they table it and there is every reason for this place to extend courtesy.

An hour ago, Mr Stanhope was very keen to get to the bottom of this matter and he now seems to be a whole lot less keen. I suspect that it is because it has blown up in his face and he is now exposed and that what he wants to do by stopping Mr Pratt from speaking is to minimise the damage that he has done to himself and minimise the damage to Mr Hargreaves, who is suffering from this whole fiasco that he has brought to the Assembly.

Courtesy is very important, because we can give it back to the government if they want to play this game. Do they want to have to get leave and suspend standing orders on


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