Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2600 ..
Leave not granted.
Suspension of standing orders
MR SMYTH (8.58): Then I move:
That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent Mr Smyth again addressing the Assembly.
Mr Deputy Speaker, we could do this the easy way and the honourable way, which is that we have always allowed people on an abortion debate to speak again.
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Excuse me, but you must discuss the question of the suspension of standing orders, Mr Smyth.
MR SMYTH: I certainly am, Mr Deputy Speaker.
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you. The question is that the standing orders be suspended. You have five minutes to debate that, but not the matter under consideration.
MR SMYTH: That is correct, Mr Deputy Speaker. In fact, there is 15 minutes for this debate, and those that wanted to speak again would have had a few words, which would have taken a few minutes. But, if necessary, I am sure my colleagues and I, all four of us, will move for a suspension, which will add a debate of at least an hour to this.
What is being done by saying "No, you can't speak again" is something that I believe has never happened in an abortion debate in the Assembly before. Where people seek leave to speak again, that courtesy is normally extended. And in this particular debate, which is such an important debate where points are made across the chamber, I think it is reasonable that people get the opportunity to speak again. Now, the point of this is that there is much to be said. There are points being raised here all the time, and if we want to have a reasonable and informed debate, people should be allowed to refute what is being said. That is debate. If those opposite wish to gag the debate, that's fine, but they will be known for having done that. And I think it would be to their eternal shame that they denied people the opportunity to speak about something which I consider is probably the most important issue that any Assembly is-
Mr Quinlan: We're going to gainsay each other all night, are we?
MR SMYTH: Sorry? I'm sorry, I didn't hear what you said.
Mrs Dunne: Well if you're bored, Ted, you can go away.
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, please! I will not allow a private debate across the chamber. Mr Smyth, get on with it.
MR SMYTH: The point is that I believe that on this very important issue it is important that everybody is heard, and as points are raised on either side the opportunity to refute those points should be accorded. It is something that we have always done. In the context of this important issue, it is something we should continue to do. Mr Berry said earlier