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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 September 2019) . . Page.. 3867 ..


It seems to us that it is the duty given to the Speaker by this place to seek to resolve those sorts of questions. There is, within the Speaker’s remit, some degree of judgement and discretion which needs to be exercised. Given that two very similar motions have come forward this year, I think it is quite reasonable for you to make the ruling you have.

That said, we are of the view that the matter that Miss C Burch is seeking to raise is one of public interest. I think it is one that is legitimate for this Assembly to discuss. Exactly how it is to be done, I do not know. The Chief Minister has given quite a practical suggestion.

In the time we have had this discussion, I could have rewritten Miss C Burch’s motion to bring it within the standing orders. That is perfectly clear. I think it is quite feasible for Miss C Burch to express her motion in a way that does not draw into discussion standing order 136. So we will not support a motion to dissent from the Speaker today. We entrust the Speaker to try to rule on matters that are contested in this place, and unless the Speaker is egregious on those matters, we do not see a reason to undermine the Speaker in that way. There will be different views on the Speaker exercising their judgement, but I think it is quite reasonable that the Speaker has made this judgement in these circumstances.

We are going to run out of time today anyway, but we will happily give leave to another member or Miss C Burch to bring forward a different motion. It is quite easy to construct it. I am happy to have a conversation about how one would do that with the interjectors offline, but we will not support dissent to the Speaker’s ruling.

MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (3.20), in reply: Madam Speaker, Mr Barr noted that you have received advice on this matter. For the interest of all members here, I for one would like to know what that advice was. I would appreciate you tabling that advice.

As Mr Wall described in some detail, firstly the interpretation of the standing orders is wrong but, secondly, the motions that were put in May and August and the motion that is before us today are different. May was about data; August was about real-time information and updating the timetable; today it is about calling on the government to do what they have already said that they will do but have not actually done. It is quite a linear progression that we are on here. To say that we cannot advance an issue over the course of six months in the same way that a committee would, that questions do or that ministers do is a dangerous precedent.

We heard Mr Barr and Mr Rattenbury say, “You can just tweak it and bring it back.” If it just requires a tweak, doesn’t that mean it is substantially the same? The premise of what Mr Rattenbury was saying is that you can just change a few words around and get the same intent and bring it forward again. If you are going to do that, isn’t that substantially the same? What Mr Rattenbury is saying through his remarks is that we cannot call on the minister to fix the problems plaguing network 19, that that question is done now and we cannot ask the minister to fix the bus network. Why don’t we just have one big sitting at the start of February each year and do away with all of others?


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