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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2725 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Mr Speaker, I do not think the detail of how this came about is particularly relevant. What I do think is important is that this Assembly indicates its disapproval of language of this kind being used in respect of women in this place. In fact, it is not particularly savoury to use language of this kind in respect of any member but it is most unsatisfactory to use it in respect of women in particular.

The Labor Party sits in this place as a party of men. There are six men but no women representing the Labor Party in this place. I understand that from time to time they have indicated some regret for that fact, but as yet they have not taken active steps, as far as I can see, to correct that fact. So be it. That was a decision made about their party by the electors in 1998.

Mr Speaker, clearly remarks of this kind, generated for whatever reason by the opposition, are unacceptable. Mrs Burke may be a new member and she may be less experienced than some people in this place, but she is entitled to be treated with respect and in particular not be attacked in a way which I think is clearly sexist.

Mr Speaker, the motion also refers to Mr Stanhope. In the course of remarks made today, Mr Stanhope came to Mr Quinlan's defence. Although the transcript of what Mr Stanhope said this afternoon is not yet available, it will show, I think, that he postulated an alibi for Mr Quinlan. My recollection is that he said that the context of the remark "Condescending, bloody woman", or words to that effect, was a private conversation between the two of them and was not directed at anybody else.

Mr Speaker, if members of this place are going to behave in that way, denying insincerely that they made remarks and pretending that they heard members make remarks different to the ones that are recorded in Hansard, then that is a game they can play. That is not the way to behave. I believe we need to respect the position of other members of this place in accordance with the rules that are laid down in standing orders and convention to limit what is said about members.

Mr Speaker, I believe that Mr Stanhope and Mr Quinlan are deserving of censure. Mr Quinlan deserves to be censured for his sexist language and for dishonestly denying that he made the remark which is recorded in Hansard. If Mr Quinlan-

Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, I think the word "dishonestly" needs to be withdrawn.

MR HUMPRIES: This is a censure motion, Mr Speaker. That is what it is all about. This is a time when I can use that phrase, Mr Berry, as you well know. Mr Speaker, the word is apposite because Mr Quinlan first pretended he had not made any such remark.

Mr Speaker, let us go to the question of dishonesty.

Opposition members interjecting-

Mr Moore: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: a censure motion is usually heard in silence. Mr Humphries has been interrupted quite a bit. It is normal for a serious motion like this to be heard in silence.

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