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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1489 ..

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Mr Berry, resume your seat and let me listen to the point of order being raised by Mr Humphries.

Mr Berry: He is misusing the standing orders.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Resume your seat, sir. If everyone calms down and I can hear the point of order being raised by the Minister, I will be able to work out whether it is a point of order or not.

Mr Humphries: Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, the Chair in this place has frequently exercised the capacity to ask members to withdraw allegations that people outside this chamber are guilty of some misconduct or misbehaviour, particularly very serious things such as lying. House of Representatives Practice supports that proposition. Mr Corbell, in the most explicit terms, except for using the word "liar", has asked members in this place to compare what he describes as the truthful statements of the statutory declarations with the unsworn statements. That is the clearest expression he can make of calling these people liars. I ask him to withdraw.

Mr Berry: I wish to speak on the point of order. I was listening to the debate closely, and Mr Corbell did not call those people to whom Mr Humphries refers and goes through mock defence of liars. In fact, what Mr Corbell and others in this place have said is that statutory declarations carry more weight than unsworn statements. That is the point that was made. Mr Humphries said himself that Mr Corbell never used that word. Mr Humphries could not draw attention to a standing order to which you can refer. This is not a point of order.

Mr Moore: On the point of order: The standing order to which we refer is 275, which looks at House of Representatives Practice. There are a series of resolutions that have been added at the back of the standing orders. I draw your attention, Mr Berry - through you, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker - to the resolution agreed to by the Assembly on 4 May 1995. It reads:

That the Legislative Assembly considers that, in speaking in the Assembly or in a committee, Members should take the following matters into account:

(a) the need to exercise the valuable right of freedom of speech in a responsible manner;

(b) the damage that may be done by allegations made in the Assembly to those who are the subject of such allegations and to the standing of the Assembly;

(c) the limited opportunities for persons other than Members of the Assembly to respond ...

That is the resolution where we dealt with this very specific issue. The implication that Mr Corbell made is very clear and should be dealt with with great care.

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