Page 3497 - Week 11 - Thursday, 19 September 2013

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the words. I am relying on what Ms Lawder tells me she heard and I am not quite sure whether that was the case. On the basis that this has obviously caused some consternation and there is some uncertainty as to exactly what was said, I undertake to review the tape and come back. There is cut and thrust in this place and I have from this chair advocated that there should be cut and thrust in this place. But I have also on a number of occasions made rulings that we should not be impugning other people’s character. You can debate the issues without impugning and making aspersions about other people’s character. I will be as diligent as I can in upholding that standard in this place. On this occasion I will listen to the tape. I will take into account the points that Ms Lawder raised and come back to the Assembly. Dr Bourke.

Dr Bourke: Madam Speaker, perhaps I could draw your attention to Mr Hanson’s repeated description of the Deputy Chief Minister as a nasty piece of goods.

MADAM SPEAKER: I am sorry, has this just happened? I think the point needs to be, and the point was made by Mr Coe—

Mr Hanson: On a point of order—

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, let me finish my sentence, please. The point is—and the point was raised by Mr Coe—that if there are such imputations, and I try to be alive to those as much as possible, they should be raised at the time. It is very hard to come back and say that he said this three hours ago or three days ago. If someone takes exception to them they should be raised at the time. It is also the responsibility of the person sitting in this chair, whether it is me or any other member, to intervene if they hear these things and that they are alive to these issues. Can I just use this opportunity to remind people, again, of the point: by all means be robust in your debate but do not impugn other people’s character. Mr Hanson, you have something to say? You have a point of order?

Mr Hanson: Just responding to Dr Bourke’s point of order, he is entirely correct. I did say that as an interjection. I want to be up-front and honest about that. I said that as an interjection in response to Mr Barr’s comments that were the subject of Ms Lawder’s point of order. If that is a request from Dr Bourke, as I take it, to withdraw, I withdraw.

MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Hanson. I have completely lost track of where we are up to.

DR BOURKE: Supplementary, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, why is the construction sector so important to Canberra’s economy?

MADAM SPEAKER: Sorry, I think that that question has already been asked and therefore presumably answered and cannot be asked again.

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