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Thursday, 13 February 2003
Page: 11848

Mrs CROSIO (3:35 PM) —Mr Speaker, my question is to you for advice, and I suppose it also involves the Deputy Speaker of this parliament. Yesterday, the Deputy Speaker sitting in your chair during the MPI said, on page 709 of Hansard:

Before I call the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, I will remind the House—because it seems that most members have forgotten—that the words `you', `your', `he' and `she' should be expunged from your vocabulary in these debates, because it makes the debate personal.

Straight after that debate, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs took the floor and used `you' 15 times, `your' once, `he' twice and `she' 13 times. Mr Deputy Speaker used `you' twice, `your' twice, `he' twice and `she' once. The member for Lindsay used `you' once, `your' four times and `she' nine times. While I understand and appreciate the standing orders with respect to referring to people by their correct titles and not indicating `you' or `your' through the chair, I would like to know how 150 members in this parliament are going to debate any issue without `he' or `she' being in their vocabulary. I refuse to call anyone an `it'.

The SPEAKER —Let me reassure the member for Prospect, the Chief Opposition Whip, that her indignation is largely unfounded. The Hansard record does not reflect the number of exchanges that occurred during the MPI. The Deputy Speaker came to my office expressing concern about the fact that he had had occasion to call a number of people on both sides to order over the use of the term `you'. It was clearly a matter of concern to him. I think, on reflection, he would recognise that his inclusion of the words `he' and `she' was in error, and we all—heaven knows—make errors in this chair.

Everyone is aware that we need to direct our remarks through the chair. That is sometimes easier when looking at one occupier of the chair than another, but the facts are that you should address the remarks to the chamber as if you were addressing the chair. That will therefore mean that, generally speaking—not always but generally speaking—the use of the word `you' is inappropriate. The use of the words `he' or `she' is rarely, if ever, going to be inappropriate in that context. That is understood; it is understood by my colleague the Deputy Speaker. I must say once again to the Chief Opposition Whip that the Hansard record does reflect the number of occasions when the Deputy Speaker quite rightly drew the attention of those who had the call to their use of the term `you'.