Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 2508 ..
Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, have a look at the standing order. It goes on to say:
Questions shall not be asked which reflect on or are critical of the character or conduct of those persons whose conduct may only be challenged on a substantive motion, and notice must be given of questions critical of the character or conduct of other persons;
That is to say, in this place.
MR SPEAKER: No.
Mr Berry: That is how it is applied. That is the way I read it. This is a new one today.
MR SPEAKER: You asked me to seek advice from elsewhere. I refer to House of Representatives Practice, which is the normal reference. It states:
Questions may not be asked which reflect on, or are critical of, the character or conduct of those people whose conduct may only be challenged on a substantive motion. Such people include the Sovereign, the heir to the throne, other members of the Royal Family, the Governor-General, the Governor of a State, the Speaker, Members of either House and members of the judiciary. In the past the rule was also held to apply to the Chairman of Committees, and with the creation of the positions of Deputy Speaker and Second Deputy Speaker, it is considered these positions would also be covered by the practice.
Mr Stanhope: So Mr Berry is right - again.
MR SPEAKER: No, Mr Berry is not right again. Mr Berry, we have clarified the matter by reference to House of Representatives Practice. We may yet have to look at our standing order to clarify the point.
Mr Stanhope: Mr Speaker, the case you have just made from House of Representatives Practice reflects exactly what is in this standing order. Your reading from House of Representatives Practice agreed entirely with the interpretation that has been put on this standing order.
MR SPEAKER: However, I would not go too far. The Clerks have also drawn my attention to the next paragraph, which states:
Questions critical of the character or conduct of other persons cannot be asked without notice. Although this rule is generally applied to named persons, it has also been applied to unnamed, but readily identifiable, persons. Such questions may, however, be placed on the Notice Paper. The purpose of the rule is to protect a person against criticism which could be unwarranted.