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Wednesday, 20 February 2008
Page: 830

Mr RUDDOCK (9:05 AM) —On indulgence, I raised this matter in the debate and I used the words ‘more abundant caution’. I did so very deliberately because in my experience, when there is possible doubt, one ought to act in a way which will protect those who may be exposed. I have listened very carefully to the words chosen, which indicate to me that the Clerk cannot give definitive advice.

Mr Albanese interjecting

Mr RUDDOCK —I say to the minister: the words may, when you are addressing the question of whether coverage would be there, were the words I heard. I would like to think that some further consideration might be given to the protection of members. While I note the Speaker’s desire that nobody would seek to draw attention to a lack of quorum at the end of the sittings after the grievance debate, that seems to me to be an aspiration, a hope, that that point might not be taken. I think there are distinct possibilities that such points could be taken and I think it is a matter on which there should be further reflection in order to protect members.

The SPEAKER —I think that on careful reflection the member for Berowra might have adopted a different construct of the words that I used. I think I indicated that I hoped it would not be necessary. The standing orders allow for certain actions. I call the Leader of the House on indulgence.