Page 3077 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 14 August 2012

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community has expressed the sincerest apology for the loss and the trauma you have suffered.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Sitting suspended from 10.32 to 10.56 am.

Mr Alistair Coe—reflection on chair

Statement by Speaker

MR SPEAKER: Members, I wish to make a brief statement concerning certain comments made by Mr Coe to the media following my decision to determine that a certain publication issued by him and Mrs Dunne breached the guidelines for publications and, inter alia, the members code of conduct.

My attention has been drawn to various media reports where Mr Coe has been reported as making statements that include accusations of partiality in the discharge of the duties of the Speaker. For the information of members I will table a copy of those statements. I table the following paper:

Reflection on the Chair by Mr Coe—Copy of statement by Speaker.

I refer members to page 74 of the Companion to the Standing Orders where it makes reference to criticisms of actions and conduct of the Speaker. As members can see, there are numerous precedents where my predecessors have addressed comments made outside the chamber concerning his or her rulings. The Companion points out that reflections on the chair should only be by way of substantive motion as to do otherwise is to undermine the authority the house vests in the Speaker of the day and runs the risk of drawing the institution of the Assembly into disrepute. I believe it to be a substantial duty of the Speaker to intervene in cases like this to protect the institution. I also draw members’ attention to the code of conduct, which requires that members not discredit the institution of parliament.

I consider the remarks by Mr Coe, which I have referred to, warrant the Speaker’s intervention because the accusation of partiality in the discharge of the duties of the Speaker is a very serious one.

I note that several of my predecessors have also taken the action that I am taking now.

I ask that Mr Coe apologise to the Assembly for his remarks.

MR COE (Ginninderra): Mr Speaker, I stand today to agree with the advice that comments about actual or perceived bias in rulings by the Speaker, a symbol and institution of the Assembly, are substantial and significant and should be presented in the appropriate forum. As such, in future, I will use the chamber for commenting on your rulings, and I apologise for not doing so in this instance.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Coe.

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