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Tuesday, 27 May 2003
Page: 15038


The SPEAKER (3:16 PM) —There are two statements I should like to make to the House while members are present, both of which I intended to make yesterday. As members are aware, I chose not to because doing so would have impinged on Private Members' Business. On the last sitting Thursday evening, during the Leader of the Opposition's budget reply address, there was an unacceptable level of noise emanating from the public galleries. Any attempt by the galleries to influence debate on the floor of the chamber is outside the standing orders, particularly standing order 310, and House of Representatives Practice, pages 113 and 127. As is apparent from the Hansard record, I was unimpressed by the gallery antics but chose not to empty the chamber under standing order 310 because I recognised that such action would interrupt the Leader of the Opposition, whose reply had been scheduled for a fixed period of time on national television. I do not regret my decision.

I want to put the House on notice that such an abuse of the obligations on gallery participants will not be tolerated in future. It is my intention to remind the House and gallery of the constraints imposed by standing order 310 prior to the budget address and before the Leader of the Opposition's reply in 2004. Should similar interruptions arise on other occasions involving national television coverage for prearranged timeslots in future I intend to rigorously apply standing order 310.

Honourable members interjecting


The SPEAKER —Order! There is a standing order that covers the obligations on all members on the floor of the House while the occupant of the chair is on his or her feet.