Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 22 March 2018) . . Page.. 912 ..
place. These are the two things I have done. I have relied on the precedent of previous rulings and previous language in the Assembly. I have relied on the advice that has been provided to me by the Clerk and by my committee secretary.
Therefore, in listening to this debate it is difficult for me to hear Mr Barr try to present himself as somewhat of a victim when this is not the case. The reality is that there will be robust debates in this place. But, Madam Speaker, the authority of the chair, the authority of the Speaker, is sacrosanct. The reality is that if we decide to ignore rulings and if we decide to threaten chairs or the Speaker after they have made a decision that is consistent with standing orders, this place will fundamentally break down.
There have been many times that I and others in this place have not necessarily agreed with or liked the rulings made by people of all political parties sitting in that chair, but we respect them. We accept them and we respect them. What we do not do is then refuse to accept them 32 times and then threaten the chair with their job, because to do so would make this place fundamentally unworkable. It would break down the very fabric of what we all do here, which is agree to a set of rules, a set of standing orders, that uphold our democratic principles.
It is a fact on the record that I was threatened. Mr Barr clarified that he had threatened me. The threat was that I would lose my job. Madam Speaker, if that is the standard of behaviour towards Speakers and chairs that we will accept in this place, I think that is a very sad event. I debate robustly in this place. But since you have been in that chair, I have respected your rulings. I have not always liked your rulings, but I have done so. I have respected those ruling and I have complied with those rulings.
I support the motion from Mr Wall. It is difficult for me, in my position as the chair. I wish to remain somewhat separate from this because clearly I am involved in this process. But it is important that the facts of the matter—the advice, the precedent and actually what happened—be laid out rather than essentially trying to accuse the victim of being to blame.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (10.37): Madam Speaker, I seek your advice and perhaps a ruling. As best I could hear it from the back of the chamber, I understand Mr Barr withdrew his remarks during his speech. I therefore seek your advice on the status of a privileges motion now that the comments have, in fact, been withdrawn.
MADAM SPEAKER: Give me a moment on that one, Mr Rattenbury. Mr Rattenbury—and you can see that I had a very quick bit of advice there—my advice on Monday was that there was no precedence because I believed the matter was dealt with. The privilege matter today is in relation to comments and threats made by the Chief Minister. He has, without doubt, withdrawn them now. So you are right; there is a point that there is no substance to the privilege motion because those offending comments have been withdrawn. Mr Rattenbury.
Mr Coe: Madam Speaker, on your ruling, to withdraw something is largely a symbolic gesture. The comments have been propagated in the community—they are in the media today, they are available on the on demand service, they are in Hansard,