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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (13 March) . . Page.. 1055..


MR CORNWELL

(continuing):

indeed the speaker himself or herself. Therefore, I would like to address in more detail the issue of removing this notice from the notice paper so we do not have remarkably amateurish result again in this chamber.

MR STANHOPE

(Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for the Environment) (4.23): The government will support the suspension of standing orders, to allow Mr Cornwell to make the statement he wishes to make-acknowledging, however, as I understand it, that Mrs Cross has indicated she intends to withdraw it anyway. So I am not entirely sure what Mr Cornwell or the Liberal Party think is to be gained by now addressing a matter which has been dealt with. You may think it was tardy; you may think Mrs Cross may have done it earlier; you may think Mrs Cross should have proceeded with the motion if she was serious about it-but that time has passed. We think of a million things in retrospect.

Mrs Cross has indicated that she is withdrawing her motion. I am not sure why you wish to proceed with it. I hope you can do it quickly, so as not to hold up the business of the Assembly. We have an extremely important bill before us, which was held over from Tuesday. It is very important that the matter be dealt with today. It is in everybody's interests that it be dealt with today. We will agree to the suspension, but hope that you will be quick about it.

Question resolved in the affirmative, with the concurrence of an absolute majority.

Private members business-notice No 9

MR CORNWELL

(4.24): I thank Mr Stanhope for his comments. I shall be as speedy as possible. There is a reason why I am speaking to this. You are quite right that it has now been withdrawn, three months after it was put on the notice paper and three weeks into the sitting of this Assembly.

We have been sitting for three weeks, and that notice has remained on the notice paper. That is another world first, I suggest, for publicity hounds-three weeks to put a motion of dissent on the notice paper against the Speaker. The reason I talk about this is that it is extremely prejudicial to the status of the Speakership to have this type of thing sitting on the notice paper.

I would suggest that nowhere else in the Commonwealth would this be allowed. The Speaker is the arbiter, the referee-the umpire if you like-of any disagreement in any chamber. Any dissent from his or her ruling should and must be settled immediately so that the Speaker retains the confidence of the house-or not.

You do not delay the decisions of umpires and referees. Why should you delay a decision of the Speaker of any parliament? It is not just only the Speakership as a function of the parliament, but the Speaker himself, or herself, as the case may be, who needs to have this matter resolved promptly. It should not hang around on the notice paper for all to see, because it damages the position, the dignity of the position and the person concerned.

The background alone of the motion indicates its low priority, inasmuch as it was not immediately debated. Nobody was interested in doing so, Mr Speaker-probably


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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.