Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 November 2021) . . Page.. 3192 ..
That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would allow this motion to be debated.
What is happening in this place today is extraordinary. For members who are not across the detail, on 8 October Ms Cheyne and Mr Rattenbury moved a joint motion in this place that made certain allegations about Senator Seselja and Senator McMahon. Senator Seselja has written to the Speaker and made it absolutely clear, and has got statements from Senator McMahon, that what was in the motion was false. The Speaker then got a copy of that motion and sent it to every single federal member. This is not just a simple mislead of this Assembly. This is then compounding the error and sending that mislead, that misrepresentation, that falsehood, up on the hill.
That letter was tabled in this place by Madam Speaker at about 3 pm. We should all have copies of it. As Madam Speaker will agree, the protocol of this place is that if you have misled, you come into this place and you withdraw. It is also, I think, fair of us to say that should happen at the earliest opportunity, which is two and a half hours after it became apparent.
There is no need for a delay on this matter, Madam Speaker. The matter needs to be dealt with forthwith. I think that it is reasonable, given these false, misleading statements have been made and have been circulated by this place to the federal parliament, that the record is corrected and those members who were misrepresented are apologised to. It is a reasonable position and it needs to be dealt with straightaway.
Madam Speaker, it is outrageous. You know it. Mr Rattenbury, as a former Speaker, knows it. Mr Gentleman knows it; he has been in this place long enough. When you have these sorts of matters before you, they are not shunted off. They are dealt with as a matter of precedence. For this not to be dealt with as a matter of precedence is a running interference to protect members of one particular political side over what we should all do, which is adhere to the standing orders on these matters.
Let me be very clear: I have not seen this before. When people mislead—and it happens from time to time on all sides of politics, people stuff up, people make mistakes, and that is what has happened here—generally speaking, they come in here, they acknowledge they have made a mistake, they correct the record and they move on. That is what has always happened in this parliament. To now breach that, to decide that we are no longer going to conform to that as an established protocol, is probably one of the most retrograde steps I have ever seen in this place.
Here we are, Madam Speaker, all on the unity ticket of trying to get states rights on whatever issue it may be. We want to be treated like a grown-up parliament that can be trusted. This has taken us on a backward step. Everybody up on the hill, let me tell you—because I am aware that this has been circulated now, not by me but by senators up on the hill—are aware of what has happened in terms of the misrepresentation.
On the one hand, we are saying, “Trust us. We’re trustworthy. We are a responsible parliament. We can behave like a state.” This chaos ensues and, instead of them dealing with it responsibly like a grown-up, mature parliament would, that does not