Page 2157 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 22 June 2005

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With respect to you, Mr Speaker, I submit that for those reasons your ruling is wrong and our motion of dissent should be upheld by the Assembly.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (2.56): Mr Speaker, the government’s view is that your ruling is the appropriate one. This matter has already been before the Magistrates Court. It was an entirely legitimate exercise of your responsibilities as Speaker to say that the matter is before the judicial processes in the territory and those processes should be allowed to continue without the potential for improper influence by this place. That is what this argument about sub judice is about. It is about ensuring that this place does not improperly influence matters that are currently before the judicial processes of the territory.

Mr Speaker, it is as simple and as black and white as that. Your decision is the correct one. It is an appropriate one that has regard to the forms, conventions and standing orders of this place and the government will be supporting your ruling on this matter.

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (2.58): I stand to support the motion. I would simply draw to your attention that the relationship between this question and the desire to debate a matter of departmental procedure deserves to be aired. The fact that it relates to a matter before the court should not be an impediment to this issue being debated. I refer you to the debates we have had in this place about bushfire matters that may have related to the coronial inquest. Surely we were able to debate those issues without impacting at all on the process of that inquiry. I would appeal to you, Mr Speaker, that the relationship is concrete, that a precedent has been set and you should therefore be allowing this question, and this debate, to go ahead. I stress again that we are not debating the issue of the alleged rape; we are referring to a departmental process. We ought to be able to debate that and get the clarity and the facts about that issue from the government. That is the justification behind asking this question. We are not prejudicing a case before the courts.

Motion (by Mr Quinlan) proposed:

That the question be now put.

MR SPEAKER: I think at this stage, I will not put that because I am not quite sure whether the crossbench wishes to make a contribution to this debate. It seems the crossbench is not interested, the government is obviously not interested any more, and there have been two speakers from the opposition so I’ll put the question.

Question put:

That the question be now put.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 9

Noes 6

Mr Berry

Mr Hargreaves

Mrs Dunne

Mr Stefaniak

Mr Corbell

Ms MacDonald

Mr Mulcahy

Dr Foskey

Ms Porter

Mr Pratt

Ms Gallagher

Mr Quinlan

Mr Seselja

Mr Gentleman

Mr Smyth

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