Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 10 Hansard (15 August) . . Page.. 3120..
but not the other, is of grave concern to members on this side of the house. Your particular ruling this afternoon leaves us with no choice but to say to you that that is a step too far.
It is an absurd interpretation of the question of relevance. It is an absurd interpretation of what the enrolment questions are that legitimately can be asked of the minister for education. And in this instance, the only course left open to the government is to indicate that we disagree and we cannot accept such a ruling.
MR COE (Ginninderra) (2.56): I rise to speak against Mr Corbell's motion. I also wish to point out to the chamber that I think having a Speaker that does try to regulate debate here is a good thing. We on this side of the chamber have been called on relevance, have been called on the application of standing orders, in this very session. In fact just 15 minutes ago the opposition was called to account by way of one of the standing orders about an error in a question and it was ruled out of order. The Speaker, wisely, gave the member of the opposition an opportunity to rephrase it, in the same way that the Speaker gave Ms Berry an opportunity to rephrase her supplementary question yesterday or the day before.
I think this kind of guidance, this kind of regulation in the chamber, is reasonable and it is a good way forward. There are always going to be doubts, there are always going to be questions, about the subjectivity of the discretion used. However, to actually move a motion of dissent based on one supplementary question to one question in question time, as to whether that is really the best use of such a motion by Minister Corbell I think is quite debatable. In fact I think he is overstepping the mark.
If you want to, in effect, rule no confidence in the Speaker, this is not the way to do it. We should be doing it on a far more substantial issue than one supplementary question to one question in one question time. I think you run the risk of overstepping the mark here and blowing this out of proportion.
If the administration and procedure committee can give some guidance to the Speaker, if we think the question time format is not working or if the standing orders are not working appropriately—if it is not the will of the Assembly to take question time down the path that the Speaker is going down then let us deal with that in a constructive debate. But doing so through a dissent motion I do not think is the best way forward.
I call upon Minister Corbell to rethink his motion before the chamber today. It is a very serious motion which he has put forward. I call upon him to withdraw his motion and to take this up in the admin and procedure committee. That is the best format and it is the best place to have this discussion, rather than potentially having no confidence in the Speaker over one supplementary question in one question in one question time.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (3.00): Madam Speaker, you do have to question the capacity of those opposite to understand the difference between the word "capacity"and "enrolment". "Capacity"is about how much an object will hold—how many people could go into a hall, how much milk could go into a bottle. "Enrolment"is how many want to enlist.