Page 76 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 27 November 2012

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MADAM SPEAKER: I did not make a ruling; I was just giving some general direction.

Mr Corbell: I beg your pardon; the statement that you made, Madam Speaker. The government appreciates that there is always some cut and thrust during question time, but I would also ask you, in considering and adjudicating on these matters, to have regard to the fact that in a small Assembly where often some members do not speak as loudly as others that the opposition, or indeed any interjection, can have a significant impact on the ability of a minister who is trying quite genuinely to answer a question and to provide factual information.

During question time so far today there has been repeated interjection, not just on Ms Burch and her answers but on me and other ministers. We have no difficulty in attempting to deal with that, as long as the chair continues to have close regard to that matter. I appreciate the statement and the guidance you have given in relation to how you are going to conduct yourself on these matters, but I would ask, on behalf of the government, that you have regard to the fact that in a small chamber it is very easy for a small number of members to overwhelm a member who is trying to speak when they have been given the call.

MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Corbell. On the points of order, they really are not points of order. However, I would draw people’s attention to, while I will be somewhat lenient about interjection, this is a place where I expect that there will be courtesy and that Mr Corbell has a fair point about not drowning out other people. This is a place where I will expect courtesy. The point that was made by Mr Seselja is correct: if you have something to say, rise at an appropriate time and have something to say. I will not take kindly to sotto voce chips at the Speaker. If you want to make a point of order, stand. On that subject, when someone does stand to make a point of order, anyone else who is standing and speaking must immediately yield to that person. I noticed a couple of times this morning that that did not happen.

In the process of setting up a system of rules in this place, I will ask for courtesy. I will not require an Assembly to sit in silence and listen to people, but I would ask people to moderate the comments that they make, keeping in mind that some people have more capacity to project than others. But remember that I have probably got the loudest voice in the chamber and I will use it if necessary. Ms Burch, you were answering a question in relation to a guarantee. Would you like to come to answering the question?

MS BURCH: Thank you, Madam Speaker. What I was saying was that our commitment clearly shows that we support needs-based funding and it is no intention of mine ever to disadvantage any school that has a need for additional support.

Mr Hanson: Madam Speaker, on the point of order—

MADAM SPEAKER: Do you have a point of order, Mr Hanson?

Mr Hanson: Yes, I do. I asked before that she be relevant and answer the question. She has not. She was asked to make a guarantee about the funding for non-government schools, that no non-government school would lose funding—it is a simple question: yes or no—and she has not done that.

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