Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (27 March) . . Page.. 905 ..

MR QUINLAN (11.37): Mr Speaker, I will speak briefly. Moving away from the example of the question time, I recollect that during the last week of the sittings of this place, on the eve of International Women's Day, Mrs Burke read from a prepared speech and effectively delivered a diatribe against the ALP. Correctly, Mr Speaker, you directed Mrs Burke to address the substance of the matter at hand.

Mr Humphries: It was Mr Wood who was in the chair, not Mr Speaker.

MR QUINLAN: Well, there you go. The Deputy Speaker directed Mrs Burke to address the substance of the matter at hand. Mrs Burke continued to read from the prepared speech with, I have to say, the active encouragement of Mr Michael Moore, the Manager of Government Business. He was encouraging defiance of the Deputy Speaker's ruling.

Mr Humphries: You would never do that, would you, Ted.

MR QUINLAN: Mr Humphries has just mentioned the word "hypocrisy". I think that incident underscores the fact that, yes, there is hypocrisy in this debate. I recall from further back in my early days in this place Mr Moore, with a twinkle in the eye, persistently taking tactical and irrelevant points of order purely to disrupt those who were speaking-with a devilish grin, of course. I think what we ended up with last week was just a monumental error of judgment on the part of Mr Moore.

I am concerned that the sin bin proposition would have a far more significant impact in this place given that we only have 17 members and, in any particular debate, whether or not the member is entitled to vote is a separate question. I think there is the potential for the sin bin proposal to have a far more material impact upon the way this place operates in the interests of public debate than it would in the House of Representatives. For that reason I do not think I could support it.

MS TUCKER (11:40) I thought Mr Rugendyke would be speaking. Okay. The first point I would make is that this is clearly an issue for a committee. I am very surprised that Mr Moore considered just putting this forward as a motion in the way that he did because it is quite a serious thing, I believe, to seek to change the standing orders of the Assembly. We do need to understand what the implications of those changes might be, so I am glad to see that there is support now for this matter to be referred to the Administration and Procedure Committee, and for Mr Kaine's amendments to go there as well.

I personally do not know that either of these proposals or proposed amendments would deal with the issue that caused the problems last sitting. You can say that by shortening the time that a minister has to answer a question you may in some way avoid some of the tedious performances that we sit through, but I think even in 10 minutes you could have a manipulation of question time anyway. It is not really about the time, in my view, although I will look at it. I am a member of the Administration and Procedure Committee. Obviously I will have an opportunity to do that.

As for Mr Moore's proposal, the sin binning, I even find the language pathetic in a way. It is such a sort of law-and-order response, isn't it, to a situation where we have people in this place elected to represent the community. We are supposedly leaders in our community and we want to sin bin each other.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .