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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (27 March) . . Page.. 893 ..

Standing orders relating to disorder, questions seeking information and voting-proposed amendments

MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services) (10.56): Members will be aware that Mr Berry has circulated a motion that refers this matter of changes to the standing orders to a committee. Apart from the fact that the motion needs to be amended to take into account Mr Kaine's proposed amendment to the standing orders, I would like to indicate to members that the government is prepared to accept that motion. I would also like to indicate to members that we are prepared to accept the prerogative that the Assembly has given us to move a motion of confidence in the Speaker following that process.

Mr Stanhope: Have you changed your mind?

MR MOORE: Mr Stanhope asks whether we have changed our mind.

Mr Wood: Explain the circumstances.

MR MOORE: I would love to explain the circumstances. Mr Speaker, at the end of the last sitting of the Assembly we had a situation where we had 16 members in this chamber and in that situation there was a naming of a member and the Assembly of 16 members did not support the naming of that member. The government has been extraordinarily dissatisfied with the conduct particularly of question time.

Mr Stanhope: So have we.

MR MOORE: It is also clear that the opposition has been dissatisfied with the conduct particularly of question time. Indeed, Mr Kaine has made it very clear that he, too, has been dissatisfied with the conduct of question time. Mr Speaker, we all have different reasons as to why we are dissatisfied. I feel that having a constant rambling of voices quite loudly while I am trying to answer a question is unacceptable. I understand that members feel that I am not answering questions. I believe that I do attempt to answer questions clearly, but that is something for me to look at. We recognise that there is dissatisfaction with particularly the conduct of question time.

That clearly has resulted in a vote of the Assembly not to give a three-hour suspension to a person named by the Speaker . What the government has said is that it appears to it that there is a systemic problem when a number of people are dissatisfied with what is going on and we need to find a solution to that systemic problem. That is why it is that we have sought to find a way to modify the standing orders that would be suitable particularly for a minority government. I have to say that one of the things that were most important as far as I was concerned was the assistance that the Clerk gave us in drawing our attention to the New Zealand standing order for a sin bin. The sin bin is used in the federal House of Representatives.

Mr Wood: What has this got to do with explaining the background? You were going to say why you will have a motion of confidence.

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