Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 18 September 2018) . . Page.. 3720 ..
This issue has been tested and I think the boundaries pushed as it relates to motions on private members’ day that demand certain expenditure to occur. We have had our differences in relation to that. A motion is one thing; putting in legislation or seeking to amend legislation in this way is obviously a bridge too far as it relates to the self-government act and to the existing standing orders of this place. I would not be advocating a change to either the standing orders or the self-government act.
MR WALL (Brindabella) (4.34): I think that there are two different ways forward here. There is, I guess, the procedural question as to whether or not Mr Parton is capable of moving this amendment, and I think that there is still some conjecture as to whether or not he is allowed to. I think there are two ways in which the Assembly can deal with this. Given that we know that the amendment will not be successful, it raises the question of whether a member has been prohibited from exercising their duties in this place by not being able to move that amendment in the first place.
I think the question which it raises is that we could suspend standing orders, deal with Mr Parton’s amendment and then without any question the Assembly has dealt with that substantive matter. Without a suspension of standing orders, there remains a question as to whether or not a member has been prohibited from exercising their functions in this place.
The Chief Minister just said it would be I think almost reckless—to paraphrase—that on an afternoon on a Tuesday in September we made such a fundamental change to the way that we interpret section 65 of the self-government act. It was on a Thursday afternoon in November back in 1995 when the resolution that forms standing order 201A was brought on during the debate on the appropriation bill. These things happen at a point in time when members seek to interpret the standing orders.
Mr Barr: Members cannot interpret the self-government act.
MR WALL: This interpretation is based on the Assembly’s adoption of the financial initiative of the crown principle. That is not enshrined in and is not mentioned in the self-government act. That is a standard that has been adopted by the Assembly. Whether it is in fact legally binding is the point of conjecture. I think that that is the area that needs to be explored.
In my discussion prior to this matter being brought back by the Speaker, and the suspension of standing orders, in my discussion with Mr Rattenbury I had indicated that I would be bringing on a motion in Thursday’s Assembly business to refer this matter to admin and procedure for further inquiry. I think it does warrant some further exploration and certainly further legal advice as to how those matters pertain to the self-government act, given that the self-government act is actually quite devoid of detail in this space.
I will bring that forward. The opposition does believe that suspending standing orders and allowing unequivocally the amendment to be dealt with by the house is a better course of action than simply disregarding it because of an interpretation that is not necessarily based on fact.