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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 1 Hansard (22 February) . . Page.. 163 ..

MS McRAE: One day we might actually talk about the issues. I hear the interjection, "You started it". People do not listen carefully to what is said. Both Mr Berry and I have said that the impression could have been gained. The impressions that are gained are the ones that are of the utmost importance, the ones that govern our activity and the ones that leave people with the conclusion as to what does and does not happen in this chamber.

The issue may well be resolved exactly as Mr Stefaniak has said, with no change at all. That does not mean that the issue should not be addressed. The points that I make are extremely valid and have not changed all through the course of the debate. The fact is that we can be held hostage by a noisy range of interruptions, and, if it is generally known that an entire morning's work can be stopped by seemingly too rowdy a group, then that is not the way forward for this Assembly. We lost an entire morning's work. Why did the second shutdown have to go on for the rest of the morning? Did any of us get a say in that? No. That is why this issue is so important. We cannot have our work stopped by what is seemingly a subjective decision. We have to put up objective courses of decision-making that we are all happy with, so that it does not end up being an accusatory, "Oh, he did that, but she would have done that had she been in the chair".

That is wonderful, Mrs Carnell - leave. You do not have to listen. That is the beauty of this place. The ultimate good running of this Assembly must be on the basis of standing orders that are objective, that can be interpreted by all fairly, that have the appearance of objectiveness and that have the appearance of fairness when applied. Yesterday one could interpret a certain level of subjectivity and a certain level of bias, and because that possibility is there this motion is of importance.

I am looking forward to the deliberations of the Administration and Procedure Committee. There may well be no change at all, I grant that; but I hope sincerely that change will be forthcoming. Perhaps the jobs of the attendants and the people who run the Assembly on our behalf may be made easier if our standing orders are a little clearer as to when people should be ejected, as to when the Assembly may be shut down, and as to what exactly is the range of powers of the Speaker.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


Debate resumed from 17 October 1995, on motion by Mr Berry:

That the report be noted.

MR DE DOMENICO (Minister for Urban Services) (11.14): Mr Speaker, I ask for leave of the Assembly to speak again so that I may present the Government's response to the report.

Leave granted.

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