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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (2 May) . . Page.. 1322 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

When things get a little bit passionate, the Speaker has great responsibility here. We need to respect that responsibility. The Speaker has acknowledged that this is a wake-up call for this parliament basically. I think we can show the community that we are quite capable of managing how we behave without introducing these new measures.

MR OSBORNE (10.43): Mr Speaker, I will speak briefly to this report. We have a unique situation with the Administration and Procedure Committee. It is made up of six members. In relation to this inquiry, you will recall, being a member of the committee, that when we deliberated on this issue Mr Hird was unavailable, so the numbers on the committee supporting knocking off the sin-bin without my involvement was three to two. I indicated at the time that I am still open to all the suggestions that have been made in relation to this report, and I understand that they will come before the Assembly at some time in the future.

At this stage I have not made a firm decision on the sin-bin or on changing the way of calling votes. I indicated to the committee that I would like to talk to Mr Kaine about the way the votes are called, but we were not able to get together before he headed off overseas. I do intend to do that in the future, and I also hope to speak to Mr Moore further about his sin-bin motion.

As I said earlier, we deliberated and the committee made some recommendations. The Clerk then brought them to the next meeting, but the dynamics of the committee had changed again, because Mr Kaine was overseas and Mr Hird was present. So, for the sake of expediency and in an attempt not to bog us down, I supported the recommendations of the committee that were made at that first meeting.

I thought it important that I put on record, Mr Speaker, the fact that I am still considering whether or not to support these options when they hit the floor of the Assembly. The reality is that this is the place where the decisions are to be made, and I want to speak further to those members who have put these proposals forward before I make a final decision.

MR HIRD (10.46): Mr Speaker, I must join with my colleagues on the committee. In particular, I thank Mr Corbell for giving an overview of the position of the committee and for his tabling speech on this report. The committee believes that there are positives and negatives in relation to this proposal, and that is a fact. At the end of the day I could not join with the committee on a number of matters, in particular recommendation 1. I think this place will always have a minority government under the current arrangements, and from time to time we all get a little bit hot under the collar in the heat of the moment and the pressure of debate, and we say things that sometimes we may regret in retrospect. We do need a cooling off period, and other parliaments have devised what is known as the sin-bin, whereby a member is removed for a period at the discretion of the Speaker.

I believe, as Ms Tucker indicated, that this chamber has a responsibility to respect the Speaker. The Speaker holds high office under the procedures and practices of the parliament, and we should fully support the presiding officer in the task that he or she has to undertake. Because we have minority government and because of the need for a cool-off period, I believe that the practice which has been adopted in other places of the Speaker having the power to remove a member for a time is well founded. Because of

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