Page 755 - Week 02 - Thursday, 10 March 2011

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MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (2.46): In that case, Mr Speaker, I move dissent from your ruling.

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, I believe you need leave to do that. Is leave granted to Mrs Dunne?

Leave granted.

MRS DUNNE: I move:

That the Speaker’s ruling be dissented from.

Mr Speaker, there has been a constant pattern of your behaviour in this chamber this week which has shown a partisan attitude towards the members of the Liberal opposition. Mr Doszpot is probably the most mild-mannered and quietest man in this chamber. I could not hear Mr Doszpot, and I sit much closer than you. I could not hear what he said. I do not believe that Mr Doszpot’s intervention on this occasion was in any way disruptive, unparliamentary or any of the things that you might like to throw at the opposition.

We have spoken privately, and I have raised matters on the way that you handle yourself in here in relation to the members of the opposition on a number of occasions. Really, quite frankly, Mr Speaker, I am not prepared to tolerate it any longer. I move dissent in your ruling today because you have just gone too far this time. You have picked on Mr Doszpot, who is a quiet member of the Assembly, who does not interject, who said something so sotto voce that I could not hear it here. It was hard to tell whether it was a comment to another colleague or an interjection.

It just goes to show that you are so trigger happy to come down on the Liberal opposition at every opportunity that you would pick on Mr Doszpot. You have gone through the situation today that you have warned Mr Smyth, and you warned Mr Seselja. I did not even hear Mr Seselja speak, and you had warned him.

This has been a fairly constant pattern throughout this sitting period. I discussed it with you in private yesterday and I am no longer prepared to just discuss it with you in private. I think the way that you behave in relation to the members of the opposition is quite different from the way that you behave in relation to the members of the government and your own members. And it is quite different from the way that you yourself disport yourself when you are not in the chair. It is time that you showed some consistency in your rulings and showed that you were a fair-minded Speaker.

Your actions this week have not demonstrated you being a fair-minded Speaker. There were instances during the week, and I brought this to your attention yesterday. Mr Stanhope moved a motion in relation to self-government, on the Brown bill, the other day. The members of the opposition heard him in silence. The moment that Mr Seselja rose to his feet, Mr Stanhope started interjecting and heckling. You did nothing about it for some time, until Mr Stanhope got sick of interjecting and heckling and went elsewhere and conducted a loud conversation. And it was not about the interjecting and heckling; it was the loud conversation. You have a different set of rules for the Liberal Party and everybody else in this chamber.

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