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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2023 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 May 2023) . . Page.. 1355 ..

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

MADAM SPEAKER (Ms Burch) (10.00): Members:

Dhawura nguna, dhawura Ngunnawal.

Yanggu ngalawiri, dhunimanyin Ngunnawalwari dhawurawari.

Nginggada Dindi dhawura Ngunnaawalbun yindjumaralidjinyin.

The words I have just spoken are in the language of the traditional custodians and translate to:

This is Ngunnawal Country.

Today we are gathering on Ngunnawal country.

We always pay respect to Elders, female and male, and Ngunnawal country.

Members, I ask now that we stand in silence and pray or reflect on our responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Legislative Assembly—unparliamentary language

Ruling by Speaker

MADAM SPEAKER: Members, you will recall that, during the Assembly on 11 May this year, Ms Berry took a point of order concerning the use of the word “dictator”. Ms Berry claimed that Mr Hanson and his backbenchers had made the comment at least a dozen times during the debate, and used the words, “If you look like little dictators taking over Calvary.” Whilst the word has not been—

Mr Hanson: Hear, hear.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, today is not the day. Whilst the word has not been ruled unparliamentary previously, I undertook to reflect on the matter and report back.

The Macquarie Dictionary defines a dictator as “a person exercising absolute power, especially one who assumes absolute control in a government without right or free consent of people”. The word was used on several occasions—six by Mr Hanson and once by Ms Castley—and in none of those were the words used to describe a particular member; rather, they were used to describe an action being taken.

Standing orders 54 and 55 prohibit the use of offensive words against any member and provide that all imputations of improper motives and all personal reflections on members will be considered highly disorderly.

I have considered the proof Hansard of what was said and in the context of the debate that occurred on that particular day. On this occasion, and in that context, I do not believe it was unparliamentary—but, I remind members, in that debate and in that context. I therefore do not uphold the point of order.

Members, be very clear that I ask members to be very careful with their use of language to ensure that they do not breach standing orders 54 or 55, and I will be very attentive to language used throughout the course of debate today.

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