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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 March 2010) . . Page.. 1241 ..

In closing, I would like to remind members that this bill is a first instalment of consequential amendments related to this process. As consultation goes on and the commencement of the new scheme approaches, there will doubtless be other issues to consider which may well require an additional set of amendments to be introduced. The same priorities that guided this bill will apply to any future legislation. The benefits of the reform will be secured for the territory, the legislation will ensure a smooth transition and important government functions will be protected. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Sitting suspended from 12.31 to 2 pm.


Labor-Greens agreement

Questions without notice

Statement by Speaker

MR SPEAKER: Members, before we commence question time, I would like to make a statement with regard to a number of matters raised during question time last week on Wednesday and Thursday.

The first was that last Wednesday Mrs Dunne asked my opinion on the comments made by Mr Barr directed at Liberal Party staffers. Mr Barr subsequently withdrew those words. I do agree with Mrs Dunne that offensive and gratuitous remarks concerning persons who do not have the same means as members to respond are regrettable. I ask that all members consider continuing resolution 7 and reflect on the immense privilege they enjoy in this chamber with regard to freedom of speech and exercise that right in a responsible manner. I also draw members’ attention to the requirement in the code of conduct for members to extend professional courtesy in respect of all staff of the Assembly.

On Thursday, with regard to a reference to party matters, I ruled part of a question out of order on the ground that that part referred to a matter, namely the Greens-ALP parliamentary agreement, for which there was no ministerial responsibility. Mr Smyth asked that I review my action. Standing order 275 links us to House of Representatives Practice. At page 538 of the fifth edition of House of Representatives Practice it is stated that “Speakers have ruled out of order questions or parts of questions to Ministers which concern …”, and then a number of examples are cited, including, at the top of page 539, “arrangements between parties, for example, coalition agreements on ministerial appointments”. I believe my action is consistent with this practice. Mr Smyth referred to standing order 114, namely:

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