Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 3140..
MRS CROSS: I seek your guidance. I have not done anything previously under standing order 46.
MR SPEAKER: The relevant standing order reads:
Having obtained leave from the Chair, a Member may explain matters of a personal nature, although there is no question before the Assembly; but such matters may not be debated.
If an issue has impacted on you personally, it is open to you to reflect on the issue. Standing order 47 may be more appropriate. No, I think it is a matter for standing order 46. If you want to explain matters of a personal nature, you are able to do so, but do not invite debate about an issue which is in the past. If something has affected you personally or you feel that you have been misrepresented, it is open for you to make a statement about that. I refer you to page 472 of House of Representatives Practice, which we use if we run out of ideas under our own standing orders.
MRS CROSS: As always, Mr Speaker, I will accept your guidance, because I have not previously sought to discuss any matter under standing order 46. The concern I have, Mr Speaker, is as follows: I had circulated an amendment and I had discussed it, along with a number of other amendments, with government and crossbench members. The government approached me, saying that it had a better amendment and, if I could, I should withdraw mine. The government was were very grateful that I had pointed out the errors in the bill, but it had a better amendment and I was asked whether I would mind withdrawing mine so that the Chief Minister could put his amendment through.
It was not until you asked me to speak on that amendment, Mr Speaker, that I realised that there was confusion, because what you had in front of you was an amendment with my name on it. I would like to acknowledge a fellow crossbench member, Ms Dundas, who pointed out that the wording of what seemed to be an identical amendment with my name crossed out and the Chief Minister's name on it was not a better amendment but the same amendment.
My concern here, Mr Speaker, is that in my aim to work with everyone in this place to achieve better outcomes for the ACT, I feel that I was conned in this situation. Not only were my staff and I given contradictory information when we were trying to negotiate a compromise in getting this bill through, but also I was put in a situation where I had to stand up and explain some sort of confusion that was not clear to me either, because I took the word of the Chief Minister's side and expected what I was told to be, in fact, the truth.
I am happy to continue to work with all members of this place to achieve good outcomes for the community, but it is very important that we do so on a basis of trust. If, to do with ego or whatever, one member feels an urge to have an amendment in their name, they need to come and discuss it with me and explain why it is important that that amendment go through in their name rather than mine, but it was my office that highlighted the shortcomings of this bill to the parliamentary counsel and circulated an amendment accordingly the day before, corrected it on the morning and circulated it again. I will not read the little speech that I had prepared because it