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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 2 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 292..


Mr Smyth (continuing):

would ask that you review the Hansard, particularly the references to cigarette butts, dog turds and wasted life, and determine whether they are parliamentary.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, thanks for giving me some notice that you were going to raise this matter. It has given me a chance to reflect on it. The Clerk just happened to have the Hansard in front of him. The difficulty with regard to the use of offensive words—in fact, there are precedents on that in House of Representatives Practice—is that members should raise such issues when the use occurs. I think the notion is that protest delayed is protest diluted. However, I will say that the use of this sort of language can sometimes lead to disorder and the tone in which it is delivered can lead to disorder.

I note from the Hansard that at about that time I called for a return to the subject matter of the question. Whether one is offended by this language or not is really determined by the show of offence at the time, I think, but, in the interests of moving on, I will rule that, for somebody to mention dog excrement in the terms that it was, I do not find particularly offensive. As to the language that drew you into focus in the context of what was being said at the time, I would have to say that if you had raised it at the time I would have ruled it as offensive. But I do not feel as though I can justifiably do that now because I cannot see how, if somebody was not offended yesterday, they could all of a sudden become offended today. But I would in any event ask the Chief Minister to withdraw those words because I think they are unparliamentary in the sense that they are likely to lead to disorder. I would ask him to withdraw them.

Mr Stanhope: Mr Speaker, I withdraw any words that you have determined as disorderly. I am not quite sure what you include in that, but I withdraw those words.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you.

Supplementary answer to question without notice

Emergency Services Agency—management

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, if I may, I would like to add to the answer I previously gave in answer to the question I took on notice yesterday from Mr Pratt. Mr Pratt indicated that he wanted further clarification on the nature of these meetings. As to whether the meetings were sit-down meetings or cups of tea, I do not tend to have cups of tea with public servants. I tend to sit down and work with them. I can advise Mr Pratt that the meetings I can list were as follows: I met with the ESA commissioner and dealt with three separate agenda items. I met with the commissioner at the ESA at Curtin and dealt with preparation before a media interview. I conducted a meeting with the ESA commissioner with one particular agenda item, another meeting with one particular agenda item, and another meeting with one particular agenda item.

I met with the commissioner in relation to Operation Cumston, which was the pandemic flu scenario. I met with the commissioner in relation to the first meeting of the ESA governance committee. I met with the commissioner at an awards function at Curtin. I met with the commissioner prior to an annual reports hearing here at the Assembly. I met with the commissioner at the ministerial council meeting for


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