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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 March 2010) . . Page.. 826 ..

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Excuse me, stop the clock. Members of the opposition, I cannot hear a word Mr Rattenbury is saying.

Mr Seselja: Madam Assistant Speaker, could you just give some clarification of your ruling in relation to Mrs Dunne’s point of order. It is not clear to me what part of the debate this relates to.

MR RATTENBURY: On the point of order, Madam Assistant Speaker, the debate clearly is about government accountability. I am taking the opportunity to elaborate my views on what is a possible interpretation of government accountability. The fact that the Liberal Party are uncomfortable about that is their problem, not a matter of order.

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Rattenbury.

Mrs Dunne: On the point of order, Madam Assistant Speaker, the debate is about whether or not the Attorney-General should be censured for misleading this Assembly. That is what the debate is about. If Mr Rattenbury wants to extend it, it is a matter of relevance. Mr Rattenbury needs to be brought back to the matter before us today, which is whether or not this minister should be censured.

Opposition members interjecting—

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Members of the opposition, please, can we hear the speakers in quiet? I cannot hear what anybody is saying. Mr Corbell.

Mr Corbell: Madam Assistant Speaker, it is the convention in this place when it comes to motions of censure and, indeed, motions of no confidence, when they are rarely debated, that the debate is necessarily wide ranging. Previous Speakers have ruled that members are entitled to be wide ranging in their comments, because it is one of the most serious motions that can be brought to the chamber, and that the relevance rule in those contexts is allowed a greater degree of flexibility because the debate is, of necessity, wide ranging.

Mr Hanson: Madam Assistant Speaker, on the point of order, if it was a wide ranging debate about the minister’s performance then I think that would be within the context of the debate. But to form part of the debate and to discuss how the Liberals’ input into an energy debate could be in any way construed as relevant to this matter, which is about the mislead of the Assembly by the minister, is beyond the realm of plausibility, Madam Assistant Speaker. Although the point of order about expanding the debate so that it fits within the broader message of the accountability of the government is relevant, to say that in any way the points that Mr Rattenbury raised were relevant to this debate is erroneous.

Ms Bresnan: On the point of order, Madam Assistant Speaker, the Liberal Party have quite clearly been raising issues of integrity and holding the government to account. Therefore, Mr Rattenbury has every right to address those allegations, those comments which they are raising, which he is doing in his speech, and which the Liberal Party have done in their speeches.

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