Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 March 2010) . . Page.. 1267 ..
MR SPEAKER: No, you have to move a substantive motion on the member you are accusing of misleading the Assembly. I believe that is the practice of the place.
Mr Stanhope: I will accept that, and I withdraw, then. I was not aware of that. I thought that, in the context of a substantive motion moved against you, it would have been open to me—
MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Stanhope.
MR SESELJA: Twelve years in this place and you’ve still got no idea.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, thank you. Let us focus on the debate at hand.
MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. It is extraordinary to me, though, that he still cannot understand the basics. It is embarrassing. Mr Speaker; we see the sensitivity. We see it again with Mr Stanhope’s ridiculous points of order. We see it with the speeches that we have heard from the Labor Party and the Greens. We see the embarrassment at being scrutinised. We see the sudden concern: “What if they ask questions and it actually brings to light some of the problems with this agreement?” What if it brings to light the fact that much of the agreement is not being implemented? What if it brings to light the fact that the agreement will cost hundreds of millions of dollars more than perhaps is being let on or communicated clearly to the public? These are the kind of questions that, clearly, the Labor Party and the Greens do not want to hear. These are the kind of questions that the Labor Party and the Greens clearly do not want to have answered.
Mr Speaker, with respect to the reason why we are dissenting from your ruling, Mr Smyth has very clearly articulated the case, going through the standing orders, going through House of Representatives Practice, and indicating why this ruling is wrong, why it does not follow precedent in this place, why it is contrary to the standing orders and, in our opinion, over and above all of those things, why it is indeed contrary to the public interest for the opposition in this place not to be able to ask questions about such serious matters—not to be able to ask questions about the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars, or billions of dollars, of taxpayer funds, as is contained in this agreement.
What is it about this agreement that they want to hide? What is it about the detail? Is it some of the motherhood statements and that, if you actually drill down, it might be embarrassing that either they meant nothing or they actually meant something which was not clear on the face of them? That is why we ask questions about these things. That is why we have scrutiny. And this government have used it in this place and have adopted it as their own policy.
Mr Speaker, we do dissent from your ruling. Mr Smyth is right to bring this motion forward. Ms Hunter may bleat about the time it has taken, but this is the only time thus far that we have moved dissent from your ruling. We do take it seriously. We are not the first party in this place to move dissent from your ruling. That was the Labor Party. But we do believe it is appropriate in this place because if you are going to shut us down from asking questions about the Greens-Labor agreement, what else will we