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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (27 March) . . Page.. 917 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

you have not either. I think it is appropriate that the government put forward this motion of confidence in you as the Speaker, and I can assure you that I will not vote against it.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (12.22): Mr Speaker, the job of Speaker is not an easy one, and I say that as someone who, in the First Assembly, was in a similar position to Mr Wood as a Deputy Speaker, and also as someone who was the Acting Speaker for some time when David Prowse was unavailable.

I think it is fair to say, Mr Speaker, that you have been regarded during your tenure as an excellent Speaker. I have seen various publications written from neutral observers and observers in the media referring to you as the best Speaker since self-government. I think that is something that you can take a lot of pride in.

I have always found you to be a very fair Speaker. The role of Speaker is different from that of anyone else in the Assembly. Yes, as Mr Moore says, no doubt government members, even me occasionally, from time to time might have been slightly annoyed at the stance you were taking. No doubt opposition members have been too, but the role of Speaker is a unique one. You have to be fair and fairly arbitrate disputes before the Assembly, and I think that is something no-one can accuse you of not doing. It is something that you have done very well, however disagreeable that might be sometimes for various members opposite. So, Mr Speaker, I just put on the record that I certainly have complete confidence in you. I think you have done an excellent job, and I am very happy to support the motion moved by my colleague Mr Moore.

MS TUCKER (12.23): I am happy to support this motion of support for you as Speaker. I clearly expressed concern about certain circumstances on the last sitting day, the Thursday. I do acknowledge that you have a difficult task. I also obviously had got to the point where I was concerned. I do not like it when I see editorialising coming from the Speaker's chair. I do not think it happens that often, but it does happen. I guess that last sitting day I was saying quite clearly that I was not going to support a substantive motion against you, but I was concerned about that situation. I would just like to say that I hope that the way that you perform the task will continue to be of a high standard.

Mr Speaker, I do understand your position to be very important in the parliament, and for that reason I expect very high standards, basically. I believe that on the whole that is what we see. But I will continue to exercise my right to make the point if I feel for any reason that your role is not being undertaken to the standard that it should be.

I have already spoken today about the importance with which I see the conduct of a parliament. It is not just about the role of the Speaker; it is about how we all operate. Mr Moore corrected my language. A sin bin is not a law-and-order response, he said; it is a sporting term. I am grateful to Mr Moore for explaining that to me. I guess the point is then even clearer that I think that is pretty pathetic. We are not playing football. We are dealing with the lives of people in the ACT. We have different views on how we can best achieve good outcomes for the ACT. It is a serious business, and I would like to see it treated as such.

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