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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (27 March) . . Page.. 889 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

Add "and standing orders 113B and 160" after "203".

I do so because Mr Moore's motion clearly flows from the events of two weeks ago and it was the government's abuse of the standing orders in connection with questions that led to the circumstances of two weeks ago. I think that the debate would be incomplete if we were to discuss amendment of standing orders 202, 202A and 203 to introduce a new course of action for the Speaker without debating also the parts of the standing orders that deal with the asking of questions and the answering thereof. So I seek to add standing orders 113B and 160 to Mr Moore's motion for the suspension of standing and temporary orders.

Mr Moore: Will you circulate the changes you have foreshadowed, please?

MR KAINE: I will circulate the amendments before we debate them, Mr Speaker, but I do not have to circulate my amendment to the motion for the suspension of standing and temporary orders. Mr Moore did not circulate his motion beforehand.

MR BERRY (10.40): I am flabbergasted that the government would not take the opportunity to move a vote of confidence in its Speaker. It was the government which moved for the adjournment of the house-

Mr Moore: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. The debate is about the suspension of standing orders.

MR SPEAKER: I uphold the point of order.

MR BERRY: The government, missing its first opportunity, is now moving to try to shift the blame for the chaos which erupted at the last sitting of this Assembly onto someone else, whereas the government created the problem, Mr Speaker. This debate is nothing but a sham. The government created a crisis by adjourning the last sitting of this house following the failure of a motion in relation to the expulsion of a member from this place, thereby drawing into question the standing of the Speaker.

Mr Speaker, the first job that this Assembly should do is establish the authority of the Speaker. That authority was undermined by the failure of that motion and the government's move to deal with it in this way is quite inappropriate. The basis of Westminster parliamentary democracy is the authority of the Speaker. The government may feel fearful of that approach as the government, be it noted, has refused to move a vote of confidence in the Speaker. Let that be noted. There is nothing more to be noted from the government's actions in this matter. The government has refused to move a vote of confidence in its Speaker, leaving the Speaker up in the air. Members on this side of the house believe that the Speaker of the day should be the nominee of the government. We have always adopted that view. We believe also that the Speaker should have appropriate authority to manage this place.

Mr Humphries: Why did you vote against the motion?

MR BERRY: We are entitled to vote in whichever way we like in this place. Mr Speaker, we are entitled, if we wish, to react to whichever Speaker is in the chair. On this occasion the government has failed to reinstate the authority of the Speaker, which is a major failing.

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