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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (27 March) . . Page.. 932 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

The Hare Clarke electoral system ... is a brutal one. Let's not mince words. Increasing the level of female representation in the Assembly will not be easy. In fact it will be very difficult indeed.

Mr Berry followed that up with a letter to the editor of the Canberra Times yesterday:

... the history of ACT Self Government ... prove[s] the point that the Hare Clarke system has been unkind to the prospects of female candidates.

Those comments need to be taken in the context of further attacks on the electoral system from the leader of the Labor Party himself-perhaps not such overt attacks but nonetheless, you would have to say, at least damning with faint praise. He said on 7 May at the National Press Club:

I'm no great defender of the Hare-Clark system.

Mr Corbell: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. Is the Chief Minister entitled to make comments about the statements of a Labor Party member in this place, or is he simply responsible for answering questions which are in his portfolio responsibility? Nowhere in Ms Burke's question was there any reference to Mr Stanhope. So purely on that point, Mr Speaker, you should direct the Chief Minister to answer the question without straying. Regardless of that, I fail to see how this is within the Chief Minister's portfolio responsibility.

MR SPEAKER: He is responsible for electoral matters. I may have missed-

Mr Corbell: Yes, for electoral matters, Mr Speaker, not for the leader of the Labor Party.

MR SPEAKER: I may have misunderstood. I thought that when the Chief Minister was referring to the leader of the Labor Party he may have been referring to Mr Berry's time, because Mr Berry was part of the question. But if you were not, if you were referring to Mr Stanhope, Chief Minister, please restrict-

MR HUMPHRIES: Could I address you on that point of order before you make a ruling, Mr Speaker, since you have heard one side of that debate?


MR HUMPHRIES: It has never been the practice in this place for members to be restricted only to echoing the very words that are used in the question. Members have always been in the position of being able to quote matters relevant to the subject matter at hand. The subject matter of this question is the hostility of the Labor Party, particularly certain members quoted, towards the Hare-Clark electoral system, particularly with respect to the election of women. How am I excluded, in responding to that question, from referring to matters which are closely related to that? If the line is run is that the question, which refers to Mr Kerrisk and Mr Berry, cannot admit of any other name being mentioned in answer to it, that is an absurd extent to which to take the standing orders. They have never been taken to that extent by any Speaker, including you.

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