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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (22 October) . . Page.. 3885..


Wednesday, 22 October 2003

The Assembly met at 10.30 am.

(Quorum formed.)

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Unparliamentary language

MR SPEAKER: Yesterday at the conclusion of question time Mrs Dunne attempted to make a personal explanation about the issue of her being described as being guilty of hypocrisy. I intervened and said that I would have ruled it out had it been said.

Overnight I have had a chance to reflect on the Hansard, and the decision and practice in this place over many years. On other occasions hypocrisy has been ruled out of order but I have formed the view that it is difficult in such a political hotbed to rule out discussion about the pretence of one's position, sometimes described as hypocrisy. That is not to say that I am going to allow it where an inventive use of the word could lead to disorder.

I will not tolerate using name-calling in this chamber-for example, where a member is described as a hypocrite-because I know that is unacceptable and unparliamentary. I have referred to an observation that was made by Senate Deputy President Wood where, in interpreting these matters, he made this statement:

When a man is in political life-

I am sure he meant men and women-

it is not offensive that things are said about him politically. Offensive means offensive in some personal way. The same view applies to the meaning of "improper motives"and "personal reflections"as used in the standing order. Here again, when a man-

a man or a woman-

is in public life, and a member of this Parliament, he takes it upon himself the risk of being criticised in a political way.

I hope that clarifies the position for members.

Mrs Dunne: Thank you, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: I should add that I did not mean to intervene in such a way as to prevent Mrs Dunne from continuing with her personal statement, but I note that during the adjournment debate she returned to the matter.

Litter (Littering from Motor Vehicles) Amendment Bill 2003

Mr Cornwell , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.


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