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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 13 Hansard (4 December) . . Page.. 4372 ..

Mr Moore: Mr Speaker, I think Mr De Domenico is questioning your decision. If it was unparliamentary, then you would have asked him to withdraw. In fact, as I recall, Mr Speaker, you did ask Mr Osborne to withdraw it in the initial instance. I am not quite sure how it came about that you backed away from that position. But we now have Mr De Domenico challenging your ruling.

MR SPEAKER: Members, Mr Humphries explained that the question of the untrustworthiness of any Minister here will be proven or disproven subsequently because certain legislation relating to this matter has to be tabled in this Assembly. In that event, it may very well be, Mr Osborne, that you will be on your feet again, after that is done, apologising to both Ministers.

Mr Moore: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I must say that I do not think that is the issue at all. The issue is whether or not it is parliamentary or unparliamentary for a member to say that another member is untrustworthy. That is the question. It is not whether it is proved later or not proved later. If you want to prove or disprove something, you can do that in substantive debate. That is the question here. I am very surprised that Mr Humphries has taken it in that direction, Mr Speaker. Personally, I think it is unparliamentary. I do not think Mr Osborne should be allowed to get away with it.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Humphries has taken it in that way, under standing order 46.

MR HIRD: Mr Speaker, under standing order 46, do I understand that Mr Osborne has withdrawn the words "that lot are untrustworthy"? That includes me, and there are certain imputations there.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hird, the term, "that lot are untrustworthy", which I think were the words Mr Kaine used, could have referred, of course, to everybody in this Assembly. The Chair is in no position to know to whom Mr Osborne was referring when he made that comment. He has now clarified it to apparently - - -

Mr Moore: Now he has clarified it. He has said "Mr De Domenico and Mr Humphries".

MR SPEAKER: It is not "that lot" either. It apparently comes down to two people, because it certainly is not Mr Kaine. He has withdrawn on that particular issue. For all I knew, he was referring to all of you. So, if you would all like to ask Mr Osborne to withdraw, I am entirely in the Assembly's hands on that matter.

Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, if it is okay to say that a Minister - any one of them - is untrustworthy, we will relish the opportunity to use the expression in due course; but there has to be a decision on whether it is okay or whether it is not okay, pursuant to standing order 55. I am quite happy for it to be okay, because there are appropriate occasions when it would be used with relish; but - - -

MR SPEAKER: On both sides, Mr Berry.

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