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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 March 2010) . . Page.. 1260 ..

asked that question, he would clearly be out of order because he would be asking for an opinion. He is getting way off the point, which is a dissent from your ruling about whether or not we can ask questions in relation to the Labor-Greens agreement.

MR SPEAKER: Yes. Mr Stanhope, can you try and—

MR STANHOPE: I will; I take the point. I was just pointing out the absurdity and the nonsense of their position and the hypocrisy of their position. I will conclude on a couple of points. The parliamentary agreement is clearly stated to be between two political parties, signed, as representatives of those parties, by me and Ms Hunter as the respective leaders of those parties. It is a political agreement between two political parties. That is the first point.

The Speaker, in his ruling on the subject of this debate today, says quite explicitly: “Look, you can ask a question about the policy and the substance, but you cannot ask a question about the parliamentary agreement, a political agreement. It is not relevant to the minister’s responsibilities.” It is not; it is a political agreement. You cannot ask questions about that. But the Speaker said, “By all means, ask questions on the matters of government policy and of substance.” That is what the Speaker said—and he was 100 per cent right.

It is interesting to look at House of Representatives Practice, which I did espy that Mrs Dunne had open before her, but she quickly skirted over this particular ruling within House of Representatives Practice. House of Representatives Practice is quite explicit—on page 538, Mrs Dunne:

… Speakers have ruled out of order questions or parts of questions to Ministers which concern, for example:

arrangements between parties.

What the Speaker has done is 100 per cent consistent with House of Representatives Practice. It states explicitly that Speakers will rule out of order questions relating to arrangements between political parties. It is as clear as day. This is a shocking, appalling, political stunt—by an opposition that genuinely fears slipping on to the crossbenches after the next election and being replaced in that place by the Greens.

I think the great reality that we face in relation to a shuffling of the political chairs in the ACT is that the Liberal Party are in danger of slipping on to the crossbench, and they are doing everything they can by attacking the Greens, through you, Mr Speaker, to avoid what they would regard as that most humiliating possibility—that they will be supplanted on the opposition benches by the Greens after the next election.

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (3.01): What an appalling waste of time. There was a question asked last week. As you know, I was ill last week. I did get up to watch webstreaming at various points and I have to say that the nonsense that was going on really put me into a bit of a relapse—sent me back for another nap. I have to say that a lot of it was to do with—

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