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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 22 March 2018) . . Page.. 936 ..


there was possibly a division along party lines as to what was the most appropriate way to deal with this.

With the estimates committee that I was a part of last year, where there was a similar exchange, it was not brought up by the committee in its deliberations. All those concerned decided to let it go through to the keeper. Quite possibly, that would have been a better option here, but it is not the option that was taken.

Clearly, more has to be done in order to have greater civility within this Assembly and within the committees. There are no two ways about that. The debate that the Greens are having is not around whether or not this is an issue. Clearly, it is an issue. The issue for us is in working out the best way forward so that we do not end up spending time debating things when there is no real need for a debate.

There is one thing that we can say about this particular instance: the facts of the discussion are abundantly clear. Hansard has a recording of it. There are not, to my knowledge, any factual issues about this. The only issues are issues of interpretation of the standing orders and potentially the thoughts of the participants in the discussion. Actually, I am not sure that what their thoughts were is relevant, given that Mr Hanson asked about it and it was made abundantly clear what Mr Barr’s thought processes were.

I very much hope that this very unfortunate episode will lead to greater civility for the whole Assembly—not just in our committees but in the Assembly as a whole—and that we will consider an outcome.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (11.59): It is a fast-moving morning in which we seek to work this matter out in a way that is fair and sensible for this chamber. I echo the comments of Ms Le Couteur. I think this is a very tawdry affair. I think that it is an unfortunate reflection on the Assembly. The fact that we are having to spend a whole lot of time debating this matter in this chamber because of the culture that takes place in some of these committees is regrettable.

I was particularly struck by Mr Hanson’s speech this morning. Mr Hanson walked into this chamber and gave a “butter would not melt in my mouth” speech which completely defies the character that he so regularly displays in this place. To have a member come in here and say that he felt threatened defies the very conduct that that member exhibits in this chamber on a regular basis.

Mr Hanson and I came to this place at the same time, in 2008, so I have had a lot of opportunity to watch Mr Hanson’s conduct in this chamber. It would be fair to say—and I am mindful of the unparliamentary language provisions here—that Mr Hanson, to put it most politely, is the most robust member of this chamber. I have watched him over 10 years repeatedly belittle members in this chamber, both in his comments and in the underhanded comments he makes across the chamber just quietly enough so that the Speaker does not hear them and they are not forced to be withdrawn. I have heard him humiliate people in this chamber repeatedly. I watch him operate in the way that bullies do in the old schoolyard, where they go around and needle people


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