Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 22 March 2018) . . Page.. 911 ..
Mr Barr: That is different from—
MR HANSON: No, it is not.
Mr Barr: That is very—
MR HANSON: That is exactly the same. On 19 February 2015 Mr Rattenbury said, “Today the Labor Party and the Canberra Liberals will team up to deliver more cash into their pockets.” The Speaker’s ruling that was made on these matters said:
I will take the point of order on notice and I will look at the context. I am loath to make rulings that expressions like “in the pocket” might be considered unparliamentary.
There are numerous examples of this sort of language, including one dating back to Mr Berry. I will not quote them all. The point is that the language that was used was not unparliamentary. It was then a matter of what followed next, whether or not that was appropriate.
I do not resile from the fact that it was a robust line of questioning, but it was nothing dissimilar from what has been used in committee hearings, including, as I have just instanced, in this place by Mr Barr on numerous occasions. But the actions that followed—to refuse to accept my ruling, I believe, 32 times and then to make a threat—are what is before this Assembly today.
I had the option of closing down the hearing. That was something I considered. But, unfortunately, to do so, to eject the Chief Minister, would have meant the end of that hearing, which was not in the committee’s interests. I believe that I conducted myself in that committee hearing and subsequently in the best interests of the committee and at the will of the committee. That is what I have endeavoured to do.
It was an unfortunate incident, but it was Mr Barr who decided to litigate this further. He wrote to the Speaker. That then required me to seek advice which, at the committee’s behest, was tabled in the report. That led to our being here today. As I said before, the committee supports my position. If the advice had come back to the contrary, if the advice had said I had erred, then I would have apologised. But that is not what the advice said.
Fundamentally, the question is: did I feel threatened? Was I threatened? Fundamentally, the answer to that is yes. I am a robust individual. I can take it and I did. I am able to deal with it. However, the question is: although I am used to standing up to this sort of behaviour, I am used to these sorts of words, I am used to these sorts of threats from people, is that appropriate? Is that consistent with standing orders? Just because I can take it and move on does not necessarily mean that that is the standard that should be set by this Assembly.
The advice is there for members to read in the committee’s report. I suggest that you do so, because we as members do rely on advice. We do rely on precedent in this