Page 934 - Week 03 - Thursday, 10 April 2014

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Add “In the event that both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker are absent, Members will be informed in writing by the Clerk of these absences, and an Assistant Speaker shall perform the duties and have the powers of the Speaker as specified above.”

This amendment is quite simple. It allows almost a succession to be put in place when the Speaker, and potentially the Deputy Speaker, are absent, particularly over long periods between the sitting weeks. I understand there might be an occasion in the near future when the Speaker will be away and perhaps even you, Madam Deputy Speaker, will be unavailable. In that case, we do not have someone who is capable of doing the ordinary duties of the Speaker—forwarding on reports, signing legislation, et cetera—so it is reasonable to have in place a procedure to set up so that one of the assistant speakers then becomes the acting speaker for that period. Mr Gentleman will be moving an amendment, which he has informed me of, which makes the process a little clearer still. With that, we will be supporting the amendment and the amended standing order.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (11.12): I move the amendment circulated in my name:

After “Members will be informed in writing by the Clerk of those absences, and an Assistant Speaker”, insert “, on the Speaker’s appointment,”.

This amendment, as indicated by Mr Smyth, provides a little more clarity to the provision and allows the Speaker to make an appointment before she leaves.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.12): I just rise to indicate my support for both the amendment to the standing orders moved by Mr Smyth and Mr Gentleman’s amendment to it.

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) (11.13): The Labor Party also will support these amendments, both the substantive and the proposal by Mr Gentleman. I particularly note that Mr Gentleman’s amendment seeks to deal with which of the assistant speakers would have the authority to act and perform the duties of the Speaker in circumstances where both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker were absent. I think this is important. There are a number of assistant speakers and to avoid confusion, particularly if there are pressing or controversial matters, it is important that there is clarity about which of the assistant speakers is performing those duties in the absence of both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker.

Amendment agreed to.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

Executive members’ business—precedence

Ordered that executive members’ business be called on.

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