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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (2 May) . . Page.. 1324 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

I simply say, Mr Speaker, that I think the issue is now back in our laps. How do we deal with that particular problem, given that the option put forward here has not been supported by the committee?

MR BERRY (10.53): I had not intended to speak on this matter, but that is a very curious approach. The matter is resolved. It is as plain as the nose on your face. The Speaker is still in the chair and still has the confidence of the house. If he did not have the confidence of the house he would not be there. It is as plain as the nose on your face. For Mr Humphries to say that the matter is now back in our laps because something has not gone his way in terms of a committee report is just ridiculous.

As I have said before, motions of dissent and so on are available to members in this house. If an event such as gave rise to the proposal which came forward from the government benches were to occur again and the Assembly did not support the ruling of the Speaker, I suppose it would be up to the Speaker to decide whether he should or should not be in the chair. I have made it clear, from these benches anyway, that if we do not have confidence in the Speaker we will set it out clearly in a motion and move it, and that will be the end of that.

To say that something is unresolved when clearly it is, I think is mischievous at least. It is an extraordinary description of what occurred here. Simply put, the Speaker lost the support of the house over his decision, but the Speaker did not take it too badly and did not resign. He did not spit the dummy and go, and nobody here sought to move a motion of no confidence in him. If there had been such a motion and if it had been successful, the Speaker would not be here. It is as simple as that.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services) (10.55): Mr Berry has the great ability that I have admired since 1989 of being able to argue that black is white. The reality was that we had a situation in this chamber when the government was forced to adjourn the house in a circumstance-

Mr Berry: That was your stupid decision, you dill.

MR MOORE: A member had been named as required by the standing orders and, as a member was away, it was not possible to get an absolute majority. Mr Speaker, it seems to me that we are trying to prevent that situation arising again and making sure we can avoid the problem. It is quite clear that, although the final recommendation of the committee is as it is, this is a decision for the Assembly, and I hope we can bring the matter back to the Assembly soon. The government probably will seek to bring it on tomorrow. We take the report seriously. We will read the report and see whether we need to modify our motion, having read the report.

I am still determined that there should be power for the Speaker. It does not interfere with a member's right to vote, but does allow reasonable control of this house to avoid what I saw as a stupid situation previously-one that was based more on politics than on the good order of the house.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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