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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1228..

MR SPEAKER: Let me conclude this way: I take the view that a motion that comes before the house which seeks to override one of the standing orders is an option available to this house. It occurs frequently that this house suspends its standing orders to deal with matters which may well be in conflict with a particular matter which is set out in the standing orders. So it is open to this house to change the standing orders at will and order to suspend them as it wishes.

Although you argue that the effect of this is to suspend the standing order, the motion does not seek to suspend the standing orders. It just says that the committee will ensure that the position is held by a government member. That is the direction which is being sent to the committee by the Assembly. So I am not going to rule the amendment out of order. I do not think I can.

Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, you might address how it explicitly changes the standing orders.

MR SPEAKER: I do not have to address that. I do not have to address that because it is not my decision; it is the decision of the house. The house is making a decision that the committee chair shall be held by a government member. It is open to the house to make that decision.

Mrs Burke: On that matter: under Senate Practice, does it not say, though, before the start of business—ergo, once the committee has been established by the parliament—that before the start of business in the committee that process that you have just talked about should happen?

MR SPEAKER: That would still happen.

Mrs Burke: But we decide on that matter in here, sir.

MR SPEAKER: We are giving strong guidance to the committee. We should end the matter there. That is the way that I rule.

Dissent from ruling

MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (3.55): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to move dissent from your ruling.

Leave granted.

MR SMYTH: I move:

That the Speaker's ruling be dissented from.

Standing order 225 is quite clear. It says:

Every committee, before proceeding to other business, shall elect a Presiding Member and a Deputy Presiding Member.

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