Page 2189 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 4 June 2013

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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

MADAM SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Planning and Development Act 2007—variation No 306 to the territory plan

Statement by Speaker

MADAM SPEAKER: Members will recall that on 8 May, in response to a point of order, I ruled that an amendment proposed by Mr Rattenbury concerning a motion to reject variation No 306 to the territory plan was not in order as I was concerned that it might be difficult to discern whether or not the Assembly had dealt with the matter clearly enough that it could be seen unequivocally to have been rejected from the motion that was proposed.

In part, my decision was based on the fact that, if the matter was not dealt with clearly, it would be deemed to have been disallowed or rejected, and the possibility of dispute if that conclusion were not clearly expressed. At the time I ruled that the preferable process is that which would provide the clearest expression of the Assembly’s decision, rather than rely upon an inference from surrounding debates.

I also indicated in my ruling that I would look at any precedents and seek further advice before coming back to the Assembly with a more considered ruling.

I have been advised that there is one precedent on 18 November 2010 in relation to a determination of fees under the Liquor Act, where a member moved an amendment to a motion of disallowance. In this case the amendment explicitly sought to omit the word “disallowed” and substitute the word “reviewed”, which is similar but not identical to the situation we faced at the last sitting. There is also another precedent where an amendment was moved to a motion to reject a variation to the territory plan which omitted the word “reject” and substituted the word “amend”.

The Clerk has also sought advice from the Government Solicitor on the application of section 80 of the Planning and Development Act, and I will present a copy of that advice for the information of members. Of particular importance in that advice is the following:

While the amendment motion was clearly intended to ‘dispose of’ the rejection motion, the Speaker’s ruling was appropriate as there was some doubt about whether an amendment of this type is appropriate within the scheme set out in the Planning and Development Act regarding variations, as well as consistent with the role of the Assembly in those circumstances. In other words an amendment motion of the type moved by Mr Rattenbury should be avoided in future.

Therefore, having considered the precedents and the Government Solicitor’s advice, I believe that it is most important that the intention of the Assembly is made very clear when it deals with motions to disallow, amend or reject territory laws.

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