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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (27 March) . . Page.. 901 ..

Mr Humphries: Why is that a breach of standing orders?

MR STANHOPE: It is that he went on and on forever with irrelevancies, defamed the secretary of the ANF, used the opportunity of a dorothy dixer to attack her personally, did not remain relevant to the question that was asked, dealt with extraneous matters, irrelevancies, and used parliamentary privilege to launch a personal attack on the secretary of the ANF, somebody that he was not having much success with in other negotiations. That was the catalyst.

Mr Kaine had had enough and said some things in the heat of the moment, and then we had the repercussions of which we are all very much aware. As I say, the government's response to that was not to come into this place and defend its Speaker. It was to come into this place and, through this stunt, seek to deflect attention from the fact that it had failed, that it had not behaved appropriately, that it had not managed to maintain control of the place and that the Manager of Government Business forgot to count, that the political genius in the joint, in the heat of the moment, forgot to look at the numbers.

MR WOOD (11.24): Mr Speaker, the weight of numbers has told on the government. On today's look at things, they can suddenly count and this issue is being referred to the Administration and Procedure Committee, where it always should have gone. Next, and belatedly, we will come to deal with confidence in the Speaker. It has been said very effectively by Mr Kaine that the motion which was proposed by Mr Moore and which is to going to the committee did not deal with the problem the Speaker and the Assembly faced. The situation could arise again at any time where the Speaker found lack of support in the Assembly.

This amendment to standing orders does not have a thing to do with that; it will not change it. We could still be here one day without Mr Osborne or someone else or the Speaker's ruling could be voted down. It might make some change to how question time and other proceedings are held, but it does not deal with the problem. It is not unusual for this government not to deal with the problems; it does do a bit of window-dressing. The committee will look at the proposals and make its decisions about them; but the government also has to consider-perhaps in the longer term, but certainly very soon-exactly how it will deal with a situation where the Speaker lacks the confidence of the house. We should get onto that.

I would make the point as an aside that I am not even sure that the Speaker should be in the chair at this moment, because we still have not dealt with the crisis of the last sitting day. We have been here for nearly an hour and that has not been dealt with. He is trying to get onto it.

Mr Humphries: The crisis you helped engineer.

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