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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 11 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3347 ..

MR MOORE (11.36): Mr Speaker, I can understand why Ms McRae does not understand the reason why I wanted to deal with it in this way, through standing orders as a matter of principle. I can understand why Mr Berry does not understand that. The reason - it is a matter of principle, Mr Speaker - is that, if this matter is not decided by applying standing orders, then people like Ms McRae will continue to hijack whatever a member, particularly a member of the crossbenches, puts up. Instead of taking a specific motion, a specific idea which I wish to deal with and which can be amended in sensible ways, as Ms Horodny will put - whether or not we agree with it - you hijack that particular motion and put an entirely different idea which not only broadens but also undermines what I seek to achieve. Ms McRae's proposed amendment not only broadens it but also introduces "significant public works". I have actually made it quite clear that any matter, any decision about the lake foreshores and the lakes, is something that should come before this Assembly. Therefore, we have a much narrower and much more specific motion that has simply been hijacked into an entirely different agenda by Labor. It happens to be an agenda that I am quite comfortable with. Mr Berry knows very well that I interjected a number of times, "Put it as a motion separately and it will get my support".

At the moment I wish to deal with a different motion. If Mr Berry and Ms McRae want to knock it off, let them do it up front and knock it off. But do not undermine it; do not hijack the agenda in this way. The standing orders are there to protect individual members, for them to get their motions debated and to have a fair chance to put their motions. Mr Speaker, your ruling is about protecting individual members. I think that is the issue that members should be thinking about here. That is the principle that we will confirm. It is already in the standing orders. We will confirm that amendments to motions must be relevant, as is confirmed by your ruling, which is why we need to vote against Mr Berry's motion of dissent.

MR WOOD (11.39): This debate and the outcome of the debate will have a little more impact than might immediately be thought. The practice of amending motions is common in this Assembly. I can recall no small number of censure motions, motions of criticism, which have been taken by the government of the day and significantly changed almost to reverse the content of that motion. Time after time in this Assembly motions have been changed much more radically than by the amendment proposed by Ms McRae.

Mr Humphries: Could you give us an example?

MR WOOD: This debate arose a moment ago. Let me instance censure motions of the Government, motions critical of Government action, that we moved earlier this year. You, Mr Humphries, moved an amendment: "Take out all words after `That' and insert" something else much more sympathetic to the Government; almost the reverse of what the Opposition was doing.

Mr Moore: They are mainly censure motions.

MR WOOD: Not just censure motions, but motions critical of the Government. That is quite commonplace in this Assembly. Mr Humphries is the greatest exponent of turning a motion around. It may be reasonable to have this debate and to define quite clearly whether that is the path you want to go down, but it seems to me to be

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