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Tuesday, 28 May 2002
Page: 2480


Mr SWAN (4:43 PM) —Mr Speaker, if you have so ruled, I move:

That the Speaker's ruling be dissented from.

Your decision to expunge these words from Hansard is something altogether new in the history of this parliament and something completely disturbing, because there is not one precedent in the history of this parliament which could justify your action. When I discovered that you had taken that decision, I thought that there must be substantial precedent that we can find in House of Representatives Practice, that there must be some basis on which this decision has been taken, but there is none. I have now read all of the references. There is not any precedent that could possibly justify giving you the power to take a unilateral decision to expunge matters from Hansard. If you can do that, Hansard will become the official record of the Howard government and will not be the record of the parliament.

Mr ABBOTT (Warringah—Leader of the House) (4.44 p.m.)—There has been enough abuse of the Speaker today. I move:

That the member be not further heard.

Question put.