Page 4907 - Week 17 - Tuesday, 11 December 1990

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Tuesday, 11 December 1990


MR SPEAKER (Mr Prowse) took the chair at 2.30 pm and read the prayer.

Statement by Speaker

MR SPEAKER: Members, I wish to make a statement regarding the behaviour of members. On Thursday, 29 November, during the adjournment debate, Dr Kinloch engaged in disorderly conduct when he left his seat in the Assembly and approached other members in a threatening manner and demanded withdrawal of a comment made by Mrs Grassby. On returning to his seat, Dr Kinloch apologised for being threatening or violent. I was requested, at the time, to name the member; but, as I pointed out to the Assembly, although it was not acceptable behaviour, as the member had apologised and immediately left the chamber I did not believe that there was any benefit to be gained by suspending him from the service of the Assembly, particularly in view of his previous exemplary behaviour in this chamber.

Later, during the same proceedings, another member strutted around the chamber in a deliberate manner and impersonated the behaviour of Dr Kinloch, whilst commenting on his actions. This was a deliberate act which was aimed at forcing the Speaker to show apparent bias to some members. This theatrical ploy failed.

It was put to me by the Attorney-General that I should invoke standing order 207 and adjourn the sitting on the basis that grave disorder had arisen. I do not believe that the disorder was of such an extended nature that there was a need to invoke standing order 207. My interpretation was, and is, that, had I set this precedent, members would then be in a position to close down any parliamentary debate to which they objected simply by poor behaviour on the part of an individual. This possibility is unacceptable.

I do not believe that the behaviour during the adjournment debate of the last sitting of this Assembly was particularly edifying. The behaviour of Dr Kinloch in advancing into the chamber and acting in a threatening manner to other members was particularly disorderly, and unparliamentary. In view of Dr Kinloch's public apology, and the fact that Dr Kinloch was called to my office and admonished, as Speaker, I do not propose to take the matter any further.

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