Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 1308 ..
MR CORBELL (6.43): Mr Speaker, I think that this is an entirely appropriate course of action to take. We have had a situation today where a significant motion of censure has been debated in this place. It has taken all of the sitting period during daylight hours to complete that debate. It is not acceptable for the Canberra community not to have the opportunity for members of the media to report to them what occurs in this place through the media that the community find the most accessible - TV and radio.
Mr Speaker, I have to say that your decision not to authorise broadcast was a political decision. You were quite clearly representing the interests of your side of the chamber on this matter. It was embarrassing for the Government to have the censure motion debated. Mr Speaker, it was not the Labor Party who came to you and said, "We would like this debate authorised for broadcast". It was a member of the media. We are meant to be encouraging greater accessibility in this place. We are meant to be encouraging greater understanding of the processes of this place. I think that the debate over the last 24 hours in relation to a censure motion demonstrates that we needed the media to be in here reporting what happened so that people can understand just how significant a censure motion is. But you decided not to do that, and you did that for political purposes, Mr Speaker. When I indicated to you during the debate that quite clearly a majority of members in this place wanted this debate broadcast, you still refused to reconsider your decision. It was a political decision, and it is entirely appropriate to dissent from it.
Ms Tucker: I was not asked.
MR CORBELL: I hear Ms Tucker indicate that she was not even asked whether or not it should be broadcast. Ms Tucker was not asked. Mr Moore was not asked. When you made your decision, you did not even have the courtesy to come back to members who were asked and say what happened, what your decision was. That is not a particularly acceptable process either, Mr Speaker.
I take Mr Humphries's point. We will be raising it in the Administration and Procedure Committee. The Administration and Procedure Committee is going to have to look very seriously at the issue of broadcasting this place. What has happened today has happened for party political purposes. It has nothing to do with the dignity of this place. It has nothing to do with your role as Speaker. It has everything to do with exercising political power to protect the Government. That is unacceptable, and we will be pursuing it further.
MS TUCKER (6.46): I will be supporting this motion, but I do want to support what Mr Humphries said. Normally I would not want to dissent from the Speaker's decision. I have always taken that very seriously, but I think in this particular instance it is different. I will now refer to what Mr Moore said. I agree with him. While I do take it seriously, I think on this particular issue it is a new rule in this place and we have to work out what we think are landmark debates. I think the censure motion was important and I would have supported it being broadcast if we had been consulted. I am happy to look at this in the Administration and Procedure Committee. Supporting this motion is not particularly a disrespectful thing to the Speaker, and I am not claiming necessarily that his decision was a political decision. I believe that it would have been a good thing to have broadcast the debate on the censure motion. I look forward to us being able to discuss further in the Administration and Procedure Committee how you make those decisions.