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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 3689 ..

Mr Stanhope: On the point of order, Mr Speaker: I think in your consideration of the point of order it needs to be remembered and it needs to be taken into account and acknowledged by the opposition that the Leader of the Opposition did table in this place a detailed list of claims against Mrs Cross. I think it only appropriate that Mrs Cross have this opportunity to respond to the claims made by the Leader of the Opposition in a statement which he tabled in this place about Mrs Cross. It would seem to me only fair that Mrs Cross be given this opportunity, and that she not be interrupted during the giving of this statement, to respond to those detailed list of claims which Mr Humphries has made.

Mr Humphries: Could I rise on the point of order, Mr Speaker. There is an important distinction between the copy of the letter which I tabled in this place, which was a copy of a letter already published in the Canberra Times, and the statement which Mrs Cross is making today. The distinction is that the Assembly did not authorise that letter for publication, and so nothing that was in it receives the protection of privilege in this place, whereas every word that Mrs Cross utters now does receive the protection of privilege.

Members were quite hostile to the idea of the authorisation of that letter for the purposes of protection under privilege. Fair enough. But it would be inconsistent for the Assembly now to deny that letter that protection but to give comments that have been made here protection.

On the question of the standing orders, Mr Speaker: the giving of leave for the making of a speech doesn't obviate the other operations of standing orders. The standing orders prevent reflections on other members at all times, irrespective of whether a member has leave to speak or whether a member is speaking to a motion or a bill, whatever it might be. Under the rules of our standing orders, a member wanting to reflect on another member ought to do so by way of a substantive motion and not by way of a simple reflection or comment made in the course of another speech.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Humphries, I appreciate what you say, but if I were to rule out every word that reflects on another member there wouldn't be much said in this place. Under standing order 55 I am able to rule when it comes to offensive words. But I don't hear every word in the same context that you might hear it. If you have a problem with anything that Mrs Cross raises, please draw attention to it.

In relation to Mrs Cross' response to your letter, I can't take into account what was in your letter in assessing whether or not Mrs Cross is complying with the standing orders. All that I can do is take note of what the Assembly has done this morning, and that is giving Mrs Cross leave to speak. If you find anything amongst the words that she is using that you think offend the standing orders, please raise them; and that goes for anybody else.

MRS CROSS: Thank you, Mr Speaker. The truth is that my days were numbered when I removed my support from Mrs Dunne who from day one was seeking to remove Mr Humphries in favour of her own political ambitions. It is now apparent to me that almost no-one wants to be a Liberal MLA in Canberra anymore.

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