Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 10 Hansard (4 September) . . Page.. 3043 ..
MR SPEAKER (continuing):
That is from page 470 of House of Representatives Practice. It should also be remembered that members may make use of other opportunities during proceedings, especially the adjournment debate, to raise issues of concern.
In responding to Ms Follett's request as to whether I had a particular interpretation of what constitutes "a matter of a personal nature", it is somewhat difficult to give an absolute definition. Having considered the practice here and elsewhere, I propose to use the following criteria, which all members might like to listen to. The matter must be personal to the member and the explanation confined to the matter that is personal to the member and should not be debated or not be used to commence a debate. I would envisage that explanations would be made by members in instances where they have discovered that they may have inadvertently misled the Assembly, or have been accused of improper practices or conduct either inside or outside the Assembly, or where a member's word has been doubted or impugned. A member could also use the procedure to explain where they had been misquoted or misunderstood, though I remind members that during debate they should make use of the provisions of standing order 47, where leave of the Assembly or the Chair is not required.
I also remind members that, should they wish to go beyond the terms of a personal explanation and enter into a debate on the matter or take issue with another member, the leave of the Chair will be withdrawn, as is the case in the House of Representatives. If a member proposes to go beyond the confines of standing order 46 it may be better for the member to seek leave of the Assembly to make a statement or use other forms of the Assembly that may be available.
I intend to follow the practice of the House of Representatives in asking that members inform the Speaker before seeking leave to make a personal explanation, which in fact happens now; not allowing personal explanations to be made during question time, usually allowing them to be made only at the conclusion of question time, although there may be other occasions between items of business where circumstances require them, which again is something which happens already; and, finally, if the member uses the personal explanation to enter into a general debate the leave granted by the Chair will be withdrawn. If members follow these guidelines I am sure it will lead to more orderly debate in the Assembly.
MR WHITECROSS: Mr Speaker, my question without notice is to Mr Stefaniak, the Minister for Housing. Minister, why is the Government selling ACT Housing properties on the open market, given that the housing market is so depressed? Is it true that some of these houses are selling at well below valuations? Are you concerned that the Government's action in selling properties on the open market at well below valuations is having an adverse effect on housing prices in Canberra at the moment?