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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 13 Hansard (4 December) . . Page.. 4373 ..

Mr Berry: The Speaker has an important question in front of him - whether or not it is an imputation of improper motive or whether or not it is a personal reflection.

Mr Humphries: So, what are you saying? Is it or is it not?

Mr Berry: I am saying that I just want to know what the Speaker's ruling on the issue is.

MR SPEAKER: Mr De Domenico, do you want the term withdrawn?

Mr De Domenico: Mr Speaker, I would say this to Mr Osborne: If he honestly believes that Mr Humphries and I are untrustworthy, he should table the evidence or else he should do us the courtesy of withdrawing.

Mr Whitecross: Mr Speaker, further to the point of order: This whole debate has to be put back in context. Mr Osborne, in advocating for his Bill, said that he thought members of this Assembly should vote for his Bill rather than wait to see whether the Government would, in fact, produce regulations, because he believed that we should not trust the Government to produce the regulations. I think Mr Osborne was perfectly entitled to make that argument. I think he made it very well. I do not see how an argument advocating that we support a piece of legislation, rather than wait to see whether the Government produces regulations, could possibly be unparliamentary. I think his advocacy that we not trust the Government but do it ourselves was a very sensible argument.

Mr Kaine: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I can only assume, in view of your most recent comments on this matter, that that lot over there is untrustworthy, and that is okay with me.

MR SPEAKER: I have no knowledge of to whom Mr Osborne was originally referring.

Mr Moore: That is correct, Mr Speaker. Mr Whitecross is quite right when he says that that is how Mr Osborne made the case. I would say that, up to that point, there was perhaps an issue. We now have a situation where Mr Osborne has quite specifically named two members and has said that they are untrustworthy on this issue. I think there is a question there about whether that is parliamentary or whether that is not parliamentary. To me, it is very clear that it is not parliamentary, and I am surprised that he has not been asked to withdraw.

MR SPEAKER: Mr De Domenico has asked. I now ask Mr Humphries: Would you like Mr Osborne to withdraw his comments?

Mr Humphries: Yes, I would, Mr Speaker.

Mr Wood: It is not their decision; it is yours, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Both Ministers have been subsequently named by Mr Osborne and have now asked that the comment be withdrawn. Both Mr Humphries and Mr De Domenico find the comment offensive. Mr Osborne, I ask you to withdraw the comment that Mr Humphries and Mr De Domenico are untrustworthy.

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