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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 3035 ..

MR SPEAKER: I do not believe it is inappropriate at all. Standing orders, as you know, allow no reflections within the chamber on matters coming before this Assembly. As you know, Ms Follett, you often make comments outside the Assembly on matters.

Ms Follett: You are the Speaker. I am not the Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Just a moment. The two issues that you referred to were matters that I believe were not within the province of this Assembly, and I have every right to express that view, in my opinion, outside the chamber.

MS FOLLETT: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Given your responsibilities as the Speaker - not as Greg Cornwell, MLA, but as the Speaker - to represent the views of this Assembly as a whole, how on earth do you justify criticising what were unanimous decisions of this Assembly which you raised no dissent from at the time?

MR SPEAKER: As you know, the Speaker, unless it is a conscience matter, does not involve himself or herself in debates in this chamber.

Ms Follett: But there is nothing to stop you.

MR SPEAKER: Just a moment. There is a convention.

Ms McRae: There is not.

MR SPEAKER: There is a convention, which I am certainly happy to go along with, that I do not involve myself in debates in the chamber unless they are conscience votes. As you know, I have spoken twice on matters - one in relation to the prayer, which directly affected this house and me as Speaker, and secondly - - -

Mr Kaine: If the Leader of the Opposition would like to ask several other supplementary questions, Mr Speaker, you may or may not decide that you will answer them.

MR SPEAKER: Are you raising a point of order?

Mr Kaine: No; I have a question without notice.

MR SPEAKER: Just a moment; let me finish off on this point. I have been prepared to acknowledge the convention that one does not participate in debates in this Assembly as Speaker unless the matter is a conscience vote or something that directly affects it. I do not believe, however, that that prevents me from speaking on matters outside this chamber, any more than it does any other member of this house.

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