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Monday, 18 August 2003
Page: 18716

Mr LATHAM (3:44 PM) —Mr Speaker, as you review the proceedings of question time and take up the matters raised concerning the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Leader of the Opposition, will you consider this document, a list of the 64 times in recent years that the term `cover-up' has been used in questions in the House without any requirement for the questioner to rephrase the question or withdraw? I seek leave to table the document for the assistance of the Speaker.

Government member—It is in the Hansard.

Mr LATHAM —It is a nice reference.

The SPEAKER —I will deal with the matter immediately. I do not intend to make any change to the comments I made about the question and I do not expect it to be raised ever again by the Manager of Opposition Business. I made the ruling entirely, as former Speakers would be well aware, because of the way in which the question abused the standing orders as they apply to questions. Standing order 144 states:

Questions should not contain—

(d) imputations;

Open and shut case.