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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 4 Hansard (25 March) . . Page.. 1598..


That so much of the standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent the order of the day, relating to standing order 156 and the exclusion of Ministers from debate, being called on forthwith.

Mrs Dunne: Mr Speaker, could I seek your guidance about the process we are going through. The general principle in this place, as in any other parliament, is that the member who has control of a matter decides when or not it is brought on. There has been, to my knowledge early in the life of the Assembly, one departure from this, which was roundly criticised by everybody afterwards. I would like to seek your ruling on the appropriateness of suspension of standing orders to go down this path.

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, on the point of order that you have raised, it is my advice that there is nothing in the standing orders regarding the practice that you are referring to. It would seem that it may be that it is a convention of this place. That being so, it is for the will of the Assembly to decide on Mr Corbell's motion. That will may be informed by a convention or not, but it is, as I understand it, a convention rather than a standing order.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (6.08): Mr Speaker, the Canberra Liberals will be opposing the suspension of standing orders, simply on the principle that it is the convention, if not reflected in the standing orders, in this place that the person who introduces a matter, who has charge of a matter, has control over when that matter is brought back. In addition to that, the Assembly has already agreed earlier today that this matter would be brought back on another day; that has already been the decision and the vote of this Assembly. That being so, what we are doing now is casting doubt on the validity of a decision made earlier this day.

There was an incidence back in the First Assembly. I cannot recall the details of it off the top of my head, and there is nobody else here who probably would recall it, but a member was forced to debate a matter; the Assembly forced an item on against the will of the person who had responsibility for it. It was done when we were an immature parliament. It was recognised by all involved afterwards that this was an unfortunate precedent that should never be repeated. But of course today we have Mr Corbell attempting to repeat that precedent.

The point was made at the time that this was an unprecedented practice in any other Westminster parliament. As the mover of the motion, I have control over when it comes back. It probably sounds rather pompous to say it like that, but that is the convention, that is the accepted form of this house and it is the accepted form of every parliament in the country and every parliament in the commonwealth: the member who introduces the matter has control over when it is debated and the member should not be forced to bring it on and debate it at a time not of their choosing.

If we suspend standing orders today to let Mr Corbell do as he wishes, we will be standing on hundreds of years of precedent in parliaments across the world. Mr Corbell does not like that because it is just inconvenient and he does not care about history. But these are the precedents of parliaments and we have to remember that we—or a majority of members in this place—agreed this morning that this matter


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