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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (27 March) . . Page.. 890 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

This debate in relation to the suspension of standing orders is just a ruse to create the impression that it is somebody else's fault that this government has created dismay in this place during question time. Mr Speaker, this government has put undue pressure on you, requiring far too much solidarity from you in relation to the interpretation of the standing orders of this place. If the government were to stand by a firm interpretation of the standing orders, the chaos which ensued as a result of its failure to observe the standing orders would not have occurred.

Mr Speaker, the comments in this place last time were about the government's performance. There is nothing in this motion which would repair the government's performance. All it seeks to do is to shift the blame onto somebody else. Indeed, why is it that the government is moving to change the standing orders? Are they doing it because they are concerned about the role of the Speaker? I do not think so. They are doing it because they are concerned about their own standing and performance in this place; that is all it is about.

A most appropriate way of dealing with this matter is open to all members and the government at any time. It is the usual practice for matters which relate to the standing orders of this place to be dealt with, first of all, by the Administration and Procedure Committee. That is where this motion should be going. It should have the support of members for its consideration and report back to this place, rather than the process which has been adopted by the government. That is why we oppose the suspension of standing and temporary orders and, if the suspension succeeds, we will seek to refer the proposal to the Administration and Procedure Committee so that all members, through their attendance on this committee, can be involved in an appropriate investigation and report back to this Assembly.

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer) (10.45): Mr Speaker, I want to start by putting very clearly on the record the government's confidence in you as the Speaker of this place. I think that we can assume with some confidence the view of the opposition about the matter that it has raised. For the record, the government's position is crystal clear on this matter. We support the authority of the Speaker and we support the incumbent Speaker in respect of this matter. Mr Speaker, the reason the government has not taken up the kind offer made by Mr Berry is that it was clearly a stunt. The contrast between-

Mr Corbell: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Mr Berry was unable to make comments about his earlier proposal. You ruled him out of order on that. You should uphold that in relation to the Chief Minister as well.

MR SPEAKER: I remind all members that we are debating a motion that the standing and temporary orders be suspended.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Moore has done the courtesy of forwarding to every member of this place a copy of the proposal that he indicated it was his intention to put to the chamber today.

Mr Stanhope: His stunt.

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