Page 939 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 20 March 2012

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MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Hanson.

Mr Hargreaves: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, Mr Smyth quite rightly pointed out that the longer this matter goes on, the greater the pall hanging over the chamber. I respectfully request that they just get on with it. If they have not got their argument together, bad luck.

MR SPEAKER: Members, following an exchange this afternoon, concerns were raised with me, and I think it is probably appropriate that I respond to those concerns that were raised. That may or may not shape whether we proceed with this debate. I will make a few brief remarks. I do not think it will require the pall to hang too much longer, Mr Hargreaves, as I will be brief.

Following those concerns being raised with me earlier this afternoon, I have reviewed the tape of the matter referred to. I have spoken to Mr Hargreaves, and he has assured me that he simply sought to advise members of his intended conduct whilst in the chair. I have indicated to Mr Hargreaves that I would have preferred the matter to be dealt with in a different way. I consider the matter concluded at that point.

Motion of no confidence

MR HANSON (Molonglo) (4.54): I move:

That this Assembly has no confidence in Mr Hargreaves in his capacity as Assistant Speaker.

Mr Speaker, a number of members may not have been present when Mr Hargreaves made his comments. There is no question that they were odd, that they were unprecedented, that they were not politically impartial and that they made reflections on your rulings throughout question time, so they made reflections on the Speaker. And his comments certainly impinged on the dignity of the chair.

What Mr Hargreaves did, without any prompting or any particular relevance, was to go into a dissertation about the number of interjections during question time, particularly highlighting the number of interjections made by opposition members. It was quite clear that he was making a political point. It was not clear at all to the members sitting on this side of the chamber that there was any greater purpose to what he was trying to achieve; rather, it was some sort of politically motivated attack from the position of the chair. That is certainly the way it came across to all of us sitting here.

Mr Speaker, I think you would have gauged from the reactions of me and Mr Smyth, and you may have seen the comments from Mr Coe, that this was not something that we took lightly. This was not in any way a confected or concocted outrage from us. We were seriously bemused and aggrieved by what was occurring as we considered it to be a gross politicisation of the role of Assistant Speaker.

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