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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (27 March) . . Page.. 916 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

I am very specific about them. I believe you have been non-partisan in your approach. That, members, is the difficult role of the Speaker.

That is why it is that I have confidence in you, Mr Speaker, to deliver a fair Assembly. There will be times when I disagree with you. There will be times, Mr Speaker, when Mr Berry disagrees with you, and Mr Corbell, and Ms Tucker, and Mr Osborne. There will be times when we all disagree with the way you are doing the job, but we know that we have given you the prerogative to sit there and manage the house.

Mr Speaker, I believe very strongly that you are doing that job in a fair and reasonable way. There are times-and this applies in exactly the same way to Mr Wood when he sits there-when we are all dissatisfied, and I cannot see it ever being any other way. I cannot. I think we should be worried if one member sits back and says, "I think the Speaker is looking after me very nicely." That is the point that I am making. It is a very important point to make.

Mr Speaker, when your predecessor Ms McRae was the Speaker I heard constant moaning from both sides of the house about the way she delivered. I know, because I have spoken to her, that the former Chief Minister on a number of occasions berated the way that she was doing the job. I know that Mrs Carnell was dissatisfied with the way she was doing the job. I have to say that sometimes, from the crossbenches, I thought she was terribly unfair on me.

So, Mr Speaker, when we deal with this issue of a vote of confidence in you as Speaker, I think we have to understand that what we are looking for, most importantly, is a non-partisan approach from you. Mr Speaker, I believe you do that. That is why it is that I have confidence in you. That is why it is that the government and this Assembly should have confidence in you as Speaker.

MR KAINE (12:19): I am pleased to note that the government finally saw the sense in doing what it has done, and that is to move a motion of confidence in you as the Speaker. Mr Speaker, we have known each other for a long time and we have crossed swords on many an occasion, but I am well aware that very often in your place your patience is sorely tried, as indeed is mine. Sometimes when I am being a little frustrated I look at you and I can see your eyes rolling too, so I know that you often share my feelings of frustration at the things that go on in this place.

I think Mr Moore has made the point that your role is to be non-partisan, and I know that that is sometimes very difficult. Having shared a party room with you in the past I know that pressure is sometimes put on you. I am not suggesting that it is now, but I know that in the past pressure has been put on you to be a bit harsher on the opposition in the interests of the success of the government's debate. I know you wrestle with that, and I am not at all convinced that you always accede to the government's requests. You are in a difficult position and I understand that, and I am sure that everybody else in this place does also.

I just have to say in conclusion, Mr Speaker, that I recall a debate in a certain place about 21/2 years ago when appointments to the Speaker's chair were taking place. I am sure you will recall the nature of that debate and what the awful alternatives to putting you in the Speaker's chair might have been. I have not forgotten that, Mr Speaker, and I am sure

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