Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2369 ..
MR CONNOLLY (continuing):
In order to clarify that, the Federal Parliament amended section 65 of the self-government Act to its present form, and the explanatory memorandum, as contained in my opinion, which has been tabled today, makes it very clear that the current wording of section 65 is meant to ensure that the initiative of the government, of the Crown, in relation to budgetary matters in this place is the same as in the House of Representatives. "The initiative of the government" is perhaps a more modern form of words than "the initiative of the Crown"; Mr Humphries being an inveterate monarchist, even despite the interview we saw on television the other day, I can understand that he would want to use the term "financial initiative of the Crown". So, with all of the learning Mr Humphries was referring to - Quick and Garran, the various opinions from May and the various opinions from Pettifer - the circle is closed back to our law and practice by that explanatory memorandum. It is possible to amend standing orders to take a different view, but it is not possible for this place to amend the self-government Act.
We support this proposition because it is the proposition we have always advanced, in government or out, for the life of self-government. We accept it because we are a party that for 100 years has played within the rules. We accept it because we have before this place this very day a motion of censure of this Chief Minister and Treasurer for her failure to respond to a motion of this place in relation specifically to the education budget. But the Australian Labor Party will not, for short-term political advantage, act unlawfully, act against the rules. We believe that the rules which have always been there must be upheld. We do not say - perhaps Mr Humphries did not mean it this way - that this motion is establishing a new rule; we say that this motion is stating and clarifying what the rule has always been, the rule based on the variety of legal opinions I have tabled in this place today and had incorporated in Hansard.
MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (3.47): Whilst I support everything Mr Connolly has said on this motion, I do want to put a slightly different perspective on it. It seems to me that the overriding motivation for moving this motion is in order to protect both the Government and the Speaker. It is, first of all, to protect the Speaker from a charge of blatant hypocrisy. Such a charge could well be levelled were the Speaker to rule out of order the motions Mr Moore, Mr Osborne and the Greens have in relation to amending the budget. It is well known that it was the Speaker - you, Mr Speaker - who moved exactly such a motion back in 1993, and it was not ruled out of order. At that time I took the view that the motion probably should have been ruled out of order; nevertheless, you persisted with it, Mr Speaker, the Assembly adopted it, and it was implemented to the letter by my Government. So the first and foremost intent of this motion that we see from Mr Humphries is to protect the Speaker from being charged with that kind of hypocrisy.
It is also to protect the Speaker from having to rule against his party colleague Mr Moore. The fact of the matter is that we saw at question time today where the Speaker did rule in favour of a schoolboy antic by Mr Moore. There is no doubt in my mind that the Speaker needs this kind of protection in order to retain the respect of this house. It seems to me that the Liberals - all of them collectively - are terrified of Mr Moore. They are terrified that he will be successful in moving his motion and that it will be up to the Speaker to prevent that. So it is intended that this motion protect the Speaker from that possibility as well.