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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1530..


MADAM SPEAKER: Order, members! Address your remarks through the chair. You do not have to engage with Mr Doszpot, Ms Berry.

MS BERRY: Thank you for your advice, Madam Speaker. I will finish on that note and commend the motion to the Assembly.

Motion agreed to.

Unparliamentary language

Statement by Speaker

MADAM SPEAKER: Before I call the minister to move the adjournment, I would like to make some comments on some issues that arose in debate today. Earlier this morning, I asked Dr Bourke, who was referring to members of other parliaments by epithets other than their names, to refrain from doing so. I overheard some of the debate this afternoon in relation to that between Ms Lawder and Mr Corbell. I would like to go back to the ruling that I made this morning, to reinforce it and to give members some background as to why I think it is appropriate that we should do so.

Paragraph 10.37 of the Companion to the standing orders refers to an early ruling made by Speaker Prowse in relation to how we should comport ourselves in this place. It says:

Members should not use the Member's Christian name, given name or versions thereof when referring to another Member. A Member may refer to a Member by title, such as Minister, Chief Minister, or Leader of the Opposition, or may use the prefix Mr, Mrs or Ms.

When the member is entitled to some other honorific, they are entitled to use that. That was the thing that underpinned what I did this morning. It does not say how we should refer to members of other parliaments. There is a mixed view. Odger's Australian Senate Practice, in its rules of debate, says:

Certain institutions and categories of office-holders are specially protected by the standing orders against offensive words and personal reflections ... This protection is extended to—

amongst other things—

both Houses of the Parliament and the houses of the state and territory parliaments

senators, members of the House of Representatives and members of state and territory parliaments ...

House of Representatives Practice has a more lenient view. On page 520, it says:

The standing orders and practice of the House do not prevent a Member from reflecting on a State Government or Member of a State Parliament, no matter how much such a reference may be deprecated by the Chair.


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