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Wednesday, 18 June 2003
Page: 16770

Mr LATHAM (Manager of Opposition Business) (9:19 AM) —I move:

That the ruling be dissented from.

I do so for the good reason that it is for the House of Representatives to decide whether we have a question time between four o'clock and 5.30 today. Let it be known that the Prime Minister is in the building at four o'clock. The Prime Minister is in the Australian parliament at four o'clock. Why should he not face up to a question time and proper accountability between four o'clock and 5.30? What has the Prime Minister got to hide? These matters should be determined by the House of Representatives.

The SPEAKER —The member for Barker is warned!

Mr LATHAM —Earlier on we had the shameful comment from the Manager of Government Business that he thought a question time today would detract from the welcome home parade. What a shameful point of view for a parliamentarian to say that democracy detracts from the welcome home parade. This is the same government that, in its postwar rhetoric, said that the troops were fighting for freedom and democratic rights, yet it is a government that wants to deny the democratic right of members in this place to ask questions to the executive government. It is a shameful day for the House of Representatives.

The SPEAKER —Order, the member for Werriwa! I interrupt the member for Werriwa to point out that the motion to which he is speaking is a motion of dissent from the ruling of the chair. He therefore needs to give some indication of why the chair's ruling was not in order and to date he has failed to do so.

Mr LATHAM —Mr Speaker, the House earlier on moved a motion that standing and social orders be suspended—

Mr ABBOTT (Warringah—Leader of the House) (9.21 a.m.)—I move:

That the member be not further heard.

The SPEAKER —Order! The member for Batman is well aware that we would require that sort of accusation to be withdrawn were—

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER —The member for Batman is well aware that I am extending to him more generosity than ought to be extended. I was pointing out to him that the comments he made were inappropriate, and so were the comments from the member for Lingiari.

Question put:

That the motion (Mr Abbott's) be agreed to.