Page 2373 - Week 06 - Thursday, 23 June 2011

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MR CORBELL: Thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker. They know what I mean and they know what I am saying, Mr Assistant Speaker. To drag the personal circumstances of an individual into this place, to force the government to have to engage in this debate and to put it in an adversarial position over a matter which is clearly the cause of some grievance but which has avenues available to it to be resolved, it sickens me; it just sickens me, Mr Assistant Speaker.

We should be able to prosecute our political arguments about corrections policy, management of facilities or whatever it might be, without dragging in the name and reputation of individual officers. The government has never drawn, and did not at any time draw, the circumstances surrounding the former acting superintendent to anyone’s attention. And it was not because we were embarrassed about it. It was not because we were defensive about it. It is because it is a private employment matter, as it is for every one of the other 20,000 ACT public servants and people on secondment to the ACT public service.

We did not put it in this place. We did not put it on the front page of the paper. We did not do any of those things. We are very happy for any grievance to be investigated and, as I have indicated, there are avenues and there are mechanisms to do that should the person aggrieved choose to exercise them, and that remains the case.

I would ask members to reflect on what road they are going down today and what low standard they are setting for the future if they support this proposal today.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Before you rise, Mr Seselja, I will give you the call to speak to the amendment in a second. I have had an opportunity to look at standing order 73, Mr Smyth. Your question was, under standing order 73, how many times must a person wilfully disobey the authority of the chair before getting a warning. I would like to read, for the benefit of members, standing order 73. The subtitle is “Proceedings on question of order”. It states:

Upon a question of order being raised, the Member called to order shall cease speaking and sit and, after the question of order has been stated to the Speaker by the Member raising it, the Speaker shall rule on the matter. The Speaker may at his/her discretion direct the clock to be stopped.

It has nothing to do whatsoever with the number of times a person repeats a possibly unparliamentary term. There is nothing in that standing order which refers to your original question, Mr Smyth. I will refer you back, however, to my comments around standing order 202(e), about the Speaker’s discretion as to how far the string must be stretched. Mr Seselja, do you wish to speak to the amendment?

Mr Smyth: Just on your statement, Mr Assistant Speaker, what I simply asked was: could you tell us what the rules are here? What is your ruling in regard to how many times a member—Mr Corbell said “grubby” earlier. He was asked to withdraw it. It was repeated before I moved that Assembly business be extended. He repeated it after Assembly business was extended. You told him not to say it. So my simple request is: what are the terms of defiance? How many times can one defy the Speaker before one gets warned?

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