Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 22 March 2018) . . Page.. 938 ..
consider his or her position, but it is quite a grave thing, obviously, for a Speaker’s ruling to be dissented from and for the Assembly to pass a motion to that effect.
There is not an option in a committee hearing for a witness to move for dissent from a committee chair’s ruling on a matter of whether a line of questioning or a statement is unparliamentary. There is just no way to resolve that. The ability to have your ruling dissented from is a very important check and balance for whoever sits in the Speaker’s chair—the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker or an Assistant Speaker. Anyone who is in that role has a check and balance on their rulings—that is, the membership of the Assembly. That does not apply to witnesses appearing before an Assembly committee.
I think the review of standing orders needs to consider that. In my view, the appropriate place for the review of standing orders to take place is through the process that has already been established. I do not think you need to establish a privileges committee to look into that particular matter.
To clarify things for Mr Rattenbury and Ms Le Couteur, the only avenue that I wish to pursue in relation to this is the review of the standing orders, and that that review examines the issues that I have raised. It will happen in the future that a witness before an Assembly committee will take offence at the imputation of a question. It is certainly within my rights to take offence at being told repeatedly in a line of questioning that I was personally trousering taxpayers’ money. That remains an issue for me—an issue of grave concern. All I can do is ask for that to be withdrawn. I have again. It appears it will not be, so that is the end of that matter. The question of the standing orders is appropriately dealt with through the process that is underway with the standing orders review.
Debate (on motion by Mr Coe) adjourned to a later hour.
Executive members’ business—precedence
Ordered that executive members’ business be called on.
Refugees in the ACT
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (12.08): I move:
That this Assembly:
(1) acknowledges that the ACT is a Refugee Welcome Zone and has a well-established commitment to support and encourage refugees to settle here, and over the past ten years Canberra welcomed over 2000 refugees;
(2) welcomes the Federal Government’s positive decision to support refugees coming to Australia by announcing a Community Support Program (CSP), with an intake of 1000 from 1 July 2017;
(3) notes with concern that:
(a) there are strict priority criteria for refugees applying for the CSP which includes the following: