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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 March 2010) . . Page.. 1247 ..

it stops the scrutiny of the government—fair and reasonable scrutiny that you have allowed in the past. You have to answer why you have changed your mind. You have to answer why you do not want this scrutiny. You have to answer why you will shut down discussions that put the torch on the Greens-Labor agreement.

Only you can answer that. You have made this decision. I think the excuses in your decision are flimsy and I think they truly are a misunderstanding of House of Representatives Practice. They are a misunderstanding of what a parliamentary agreement is and they are a misunderstanding of what signatures on documents that promise to deliver funding mean for the people of the ACT.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (2.17): Mr Speaker, your ruling deserves to be upheld and, as usual—

Mr Coe: Is this in the agreement as well?

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Corbell, before you go on: members of the opposition, this is obviously a difficult position for me to be in but Mr Smyth was heard largely in silence. I expect other speakers to be afforded a similar respect. And I am stating that right up front so that there is no misunderstanding about what my position is on this.

Mr Seselja: On a point of order, Mr Speaker,Mr Stanhope and Mr Corbell were heckling Mr Smyth through significant parts of his speech. I did not hear you call them to order; so I am not quite sure where the double standard is coming from in that.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, I did rein them in. The other thing is, as I mentioned to members of your team in recent times, I think there is a difference between interjecting and shouting other members down. And the volume with which the Liberal Party members intervene does make it extremely difficult to hear the debate. That is the point I am trying to make up front and be perfectly transparent about. Mr Corbell, you have the floor.

MR CORBELL: Thank you, Mr Speaker. As usual, when the Liberal Party do not like what they are hearing they do try to shout the opposing voices down.

Mr Speaker, your ruling does deserve to be upheld because you have drawn a very clear distinction between the political decisions that are taken between political parties in this place and decisions that are taken by the government in this place for which the government is accountable to this Assembly. We have confected outrage from the Liberal Party and I simply refer to the Hansard on this matter.

Mr Seselja asked a question relating to small business confidence in the ACT government. He referred to the Greens-Labor agreement and the relevant section of that agreement. Then he asked a question of the Treasurer in relation to the payment of invoices. Mr Speaker, you ruled, quite correctly:

You cannot ask about the Labor-Greens parliamentary agreement but the rest of your question is broadly valid. Perhaps you could just reframe it slightly.

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