Page 3119 - Week 10 - Thursday, 15 August 2013
MADAM SPEAKER: My understanding of “capacity” is the ability of something to be able to hold a certain amount of something. So the capacity of this glass is 250 mls, but, at the moment, it probably only has 200 mls in it, so that is the difference between capacity and enrolment. I rule the question out of order.
Mr Corbell: On the point of order, Madam Speaker, I invite you to revisit that ruling. Are you seriously suggesting that the capacity of a school cannot be measured by enrolments? That is the whole point of the question, Madam Speaker.
MADAM SPEAKER: I am sorry; I have made my ruling.
Mr Corbell: Madam Speaker, I have to urge you to reconsider your ruling. It is beyond logic.
MADAM SPEAKER: I have made my ruling, and I stand by the ruling.
Dissent from ruling
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development) (2.53), by leave: I move:
That the Speaker’s ruling be dissented from.
Madam Speaker, your ruling is absurd. It is absolutely absurd. Are you suggesting that a series of questions in relation to enrolments at government high schools cannot be taken into account when a question is asked about the capacity of schools in the ACT government high school sector? Your willingness to intervene in question time and micromanage the extent to which the way questions are phrased in question time is moving beyond that which is normally expected of a Speaker.
In this particular instance, your ruling has gone too far. You are saying that a series of questions about enrolments is okay but a question about the capacity of high schools is not okay, when in fact the only way you can seriously engage in debate about the capacity of high schools is through the question of enrolments. Quite simply, Madam Speaker, this side of the house is becoming increasingly concerned at your willingness to intervene in what are very straightforward and reasonable questions that are appropriately put to responsible ministers.
We saw the same thing yesterday, Madam Speaker, in relation to the ruling you made that I was unable to answer questions about a document which I have responsibility for and which I tabled in this place for the information of members. That ruling also highlights the particular instance that we are now seeking to address today.
I invited you, Madam Speaker, to reconsider your ruling. You refused to do so. You declined to do so. Quite simply, the government is left with no choice but to indicate that we do not support your ruling on this occasion. This level of micromanagement, of willingness to nitpick at the detail of questions asked by one side of the chamber