Page 3122 - Week 10 - Thursday, 15 August 2013
committee or questions taken on notice, and her failure today to understand again the question and to try and deflect the question because she is incapable of answering it. We now note that she has taken on board that she will go on notice to try and get the data that Mr Doszpot has been after.
It behoves the member to be accurate. It behoves the member to be within the standing orders. And it behoves the member when he asks the question to be relevant to the string of questions that have been asked. That did not occur. Had he phrased his question differently, you may well have considered it being in order. But there is no case made here.
It has been a very tense week. I think we would all agree that there have been a lot of words across the chamber. But if you do not like the way the Speaker’s rulings are going, I think we need to have a larger conversation. A lot of people are telling me that they are very pleased with the way it is going simply because there is some control, there is structure, there is form and there is consistency. As Mr Coe pointed out, we had a question knocked off not just 15 minutes ago. So I do not think there is any indication that there is partisanship in the way that you are ruling these things.
Indeed, if you look at the warnings handed out, I think it is quite fair to say that it is not partisan. You have stepped above the ruck. You understand the meanderings of the ruck very well from your time here. But I think to move dissent when the member got the supplementary question wrong and you have ruled correctly is taking it too far.
Again, yesterday, on a very fine point on the administrative arrangements, you came back this morning. One you conceded; one you did not concede. But you stuck to your guns because in fact you were right.
I think members need to look at the way this place has been governed by Speakers over time to look at the rise in the standard. Mr Berry was a very fine Speaker, but I think you have taken it to a new level. I can appreciate some of the frustration that Mr Corbell is apparently feeling, but it is not your fault that the member got the question wrong, and this motion should go down.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (3.05): This is an interesting discussion. Mr Smyth has probably hit the nail on the head, even with his implicit backhander. He has highlighted the difficulties of the role of the Speaker. Certainly in question time, with both sides shouting at each other, with the significant levels of interjection that come from those opposite, it can be very difficult to conduct question time. I think that the Speaker often finds themself in a position of needing to try and reflect on fine judgements of the standing orders in a hotly contested environment and trying to find a fair way through that. That is no easy task. As members know, I have tried it, and members have their views on how that went. Mr Smyth has made his views on that perfectly clear.
Nonetheless, I think that in light of the debate we just saw going on there was some muddle in that question. I think that it was a bit unclear exactly what the situation was. I propose that the best way to proceed would be that the motion of dissent be withdrawn and the Speaker have an opportunity to further reflect on the matter so we