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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (27 March) . . Page.. 902 ..

MR WOOD: No, no. You can see that: we are not making any ground here.

Mr Humphries: You voted against confidence in the chair.

MR WOOD: Indeed. Are we not entitled to do that? Do you want to remove that-

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Wood! I do not want a debate across the table.

MR WOOD: You ought to call Mr Humphries to order, because he was the one that started it.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, that is very true.

MR WOOD: That is the problem. Call Mr Humphries to order. But let us get on to the debate. If we are to have confidence in the Speaker, you should look at coming up with solutions, not window-dressing.

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer) (11.27): Mr Speaker, I want to put a few observations into this debate. As someone has pointed out, the substantive debate will take place later, but there are a few points that need to be made right now. First of all, it is richly ironic that we have those opposite in the Labor Party attacking the government for allowing the authority of the Speaker to be undermined when they contributed six votes on the day of the last sitting to the situation where the Speaker's authority was repudiated. How the government is to blame for that, I do not know. I would like to have someone from the other side explain that. How their opposing a motion which was designed to uphold the authority of the Speaker is somehow our fault is a mystery to me.

Mr Kaine made the observation that it was not necessary in a sense to move this motion as it does not address the issue of the goings-on of the last sitting Thursday. I suppose he is right about that; it does not directly address it. But something needs to be done to resolve the outstanding issue.

Mr Berry: Answer the questions.

MR HUMPHRIES: I will come to that now, Mr Berry. The claim of the opposition and Mr Kaine in this debate is that the reason for the breakdown in the proceedings of the last Thursday of sitting was the government's failure to answer the questions. First of all, I would say to members who were not sitting in this place in the days when Labor was in office that they should peruse the Hansard for the days when it was. They will see that some measure of misbehaviour in respect of the answering of questions is by no means without precedent.

Ms Tucker, who was not here at that time, Mr Rugendyke perhaps and Mr Osborne would be greatly illuminated by going back and reading the answers to questions. Mr Berry, in particular, would be worth while reading in that respect. The issue of questions not being answered is a matter of great subjectivity. I take pride in this place in answering the questions that I am asked. I believe that if you go back to the questions that I have been asked in this place you will see that they have been answered.

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