Page 75 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 27 November 2012

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Mr Hanson: On a point of order, Madam Speaker, on being directly relevant. The question was quite specific. It was about whether the minister would provide a guarantee or not whether any non-government school in the ACT will lose a dollar of funding. The minister has not answered that question. I would ask her to be relevant and answer the question, which is: can she make that guarantee that no non-government school will lose any funding?

MADAM SPEAKER: Although you were talking about needs-based funding, Ms Burch, could you directly answer the question?

MS BURCH: I will come directly to the answer. I note that it is a bit difficult to concentrate when there are constant interjections which you seem to be ignoring, Madam Speaker.

Mr Seselja: On a point of order –

MADAM SPEAKER: Could you sit down, please, Ms Burch? Could you stop the clock, please? It is all right, Mr Seselja. I will start this process of being the Speaker in an educative way and in as conciliatory a way as possible. I am not any previous Speaker; I am the current Speaker. The way that the chamber will work will be in a collaborative way according to the rulings that I make. Question time in the Westminster parliament is not a place where people sit in silence and listen to answers to questions. It has never been the practice in this place and it will not be the practice under my speakership. When I consider that things are getting out of control, I will put a stop to things.

Members really need to perhaps educate themselves about how question time is conducted in other Westminster parliaments, because this is pretty tame compared to some other parliaments that I have observed. I think that members need to get used to the idea that there may be some cut and thrust during question time.

Mr Barr interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: It might be useful for members to concentrate on answering the question rather than attempting to chip the Speaker about how the Speaker controls the parliament.

Mr Seselja: On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Two things: one, I would ask you to ask Ms Burch to withdraw her suggestion, the imputation in what she said, when she said you seem to be ignoring the interjections, that you have somehow lost control of the Assembly. Secondly, it is highly disorderly for a minister, in Mr Barr, to be interjecting while you are delivering, which is exactly what he did, using words like “well, it would be a free-for-all then”. I would ask you to ask him to withdraw and, if he has something to say to the Speaker, I am sure he will get on his feet and say it.

MADAM SPEAKER: You have a point of order, Mr Corbell?

Mr Corbell: Yes, Madam Speaker. It is on your ruling, if I may, just to seek some clarification.

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