Page 583 - Week 02 - Thursday, 19 February 2015
MR HANSON: On the point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker, I said I would expect to foreshadow a number of other similar motions coming into this place. If that is a phrase that members in this place are no longer able to utter because it is somehow not relevant to talk about this motion and foreshadow there may be others coming, that would be an extraordinary limitation on debate in this place that is not consistent with the standing orders.
MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, I have no problems with the phrase that you just uttered; what I do not want is for you to bring me a list of foreshadowed motions in your speech. I do not think this is the place for that. Nor should you be foreshadowing motions the government might bring to this place. I do not think that is appropriate either. I do not think it is your job to foreshadow government motions nor your own at this juncture. The subject matter is what we want to deal with. We are quite a long way into the debate now. Continuing to discuss the subject matter would be a very good idea, Mr Hanson. Let us not continue with this toing and froing; frankly, it is a waste of time.
MR HANSON: Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I will finish by simply highlighting where I started—the motive and intent behind this debate. I point to the impact of what is being done today on a number of very eminent Australians who have accepted this award. Mr Barr, for his own base political motives, has used them as collateral damage to further what he thinks might be a bit of a political wedge. Shame on you.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Capital Metro) (11.33): Canberrans are genuinely concerned about this decision of the Prime Minister to reinstate imperial honours. As the Chief Minister said, many Canberrans have been appropriately recognised through the wonderful merit-based achievement which is the Order of Australia, a scheme which has gradations of recognition all the way up to companion, until recently, and by which so many prominent Canberrans have been well and truly recognised—great Canberrans like Rob de Castella, Paul Bongiorno, Carolyn Forster, Carrie Graff, Sally Richards. You, Madam Deputy Speaker, are a recipient through the Order of Australia. So many great Australians.
It is a great honour to be recognised in this way, but it diminishes that honour extraordinarily when, without any merit-based process, there is a reversion to an archaic, antiquated and un-Australian concept like a knight or a dame. That undermines the standing, the recognition and the merit of the awards that were so properly granted to all those wonderful Canberrans. Those opposite know it. They do not want to acknowledge it, but they know that this was the wrong call. The decision of the Prime Minister was wrong because it had that impact on all those great Canberrans and those great Australians who received recognition through the Order of Australia scheme.
Whilst those opposite clearly do not have the courage to say it, there are many Liberals who do. Indeed, there are Liberals in the federal parliament who are proposing a bill to amend the relevant legislation to abolish the office of knight and dame in the Order of Australia. Dr Andrew Laming has said it is not enough simply to refer the decision on appointments as knights and dames to the council of—