Page 3124 - Week 10 - Thursday, 15 August 2013
considers them on merit and on their weight. As I understand it, she has reflected on a ruling she made yesterday and, on reflection, has come back into this place and said, “I think I might have got it wrong.” I think that shows the due consideration and the seriousness Mrs Dunne as Speaker is applying to rulings.
As Mr Coe indicated, as Speaker she ruled a question from the opposition out of order. I indicate to members there was some debate between me and Mr Coe as to whether it was out of order because the reality is that these are matters that are open to interpretation. They are judgment calls, and in the case of the question that we asked, and perhaps in relation to the supplementary question asked by the government backbencher, there is interpretation on these matters. What I have seen from the Speaker is an equal application in her judgement.
The Speaker granted some latitude to Ms Lawder, just as she did to Ms Berry, to reframe the question, but it is quite clear that she said it was out of order and she has made consistent rulings. Equally, she has, in my view—you can see it from her rulings this question time—consistently maintained order in this place with regard to opposition interjections.
I think this is an appropriate way forward. I think it is a matter that can be looked at in the cold light of day, as Mr Rattenbury has indicated. These are often heated question times where an analysis in detail where the armchair expert in the background can make a considered ruling. We wait to see what that ruling is. But I welcome Mr Rattenbury’s motion. I think it is the right way to behave. The motion of dissent that was moved earlier was not appropriate. It reflected a fit of pique that was going beyond the simple issue of the question and the ruling and reflects the attitude of the government to the Assembly. I indicate the opposition will support Mr Rattenbury’s motion.
Motion that the dissent motion be withdrawn agreed to.
Questions without notice
MADAM SPEAKER: Now we are back to question time. Going back to the question that Dr Bourke asked, I am very mindful of the advice that was given to me by Speaker Polley reminding me that I am always in the hands of the Assembly on these matters. I do not want to be contrary about this but I do cleave to my view that there is a difference between the discussion of capacity and enrolment. Given that the Assembly does not see that same difference, I will ask Dr Bourke whether he can ask his question, mindful of the fact that there may be a distinction between capacity and enrolment.
DR BOURKE: Minister, could you tell us something more about the enrolments in ACT high schools, bearing in mind that the original QoN Mr Doszpot referred to actually did mention enrolment?