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Tuesday, 26 August 2008
Page: 6207

Mr ABBOTT (3:48 PM) —Mr Speaker, I wonder whether I might ask you to review the tape of today’s question time and to consider the question of whether it should be the practice of this House for a member to be excluded for using language which is accepted as being parliamentary for which no prior explanation of the special circumstances has been given.

The SPEAKER —Do I respond to the member for Warringah or is this next question on the same point?

Mrs BRONWYN BISHOP (3:49 PM) —Mr Speaker, it is on the same point. Further to the question posed by the honourable member for Warringah, whilst you are reviewing that tape, I would ask you specifically to look at the question of the need to make a ruling that the conduct for which you asked the member to remove himself was disorderly. I would ask you to look specifically at standing order 91 where it says that it is necessary to rule that the word was objectionable in order for you then to say it was disorderly. I did hear you say—and that is why I am asking you to review the tape—that you did not make a ruling. I think it is quite an important issue because not to make a ruling of disorderly conduct prior to asking someone to remove themselves is very arbitrary. So I would ask that that be done.

The SPEAKER —First of all, I am not responding to these questions because they are not about matters of administration that I have responsibility for—and that is consistent with what I indicated earlier this year—but I will make some observations. I will not be reviewing the tape. Having said that, I am not saying that I do not have sufficient pride in my conduct in the chair not to review my actions. I admit that from time to time I am on a learning curve and I have to learn from any mistakes or any confusions that have arisen from things that I have said or rulings that I have made. At the end of the day, to put it bluntly, the action taken on the member for Kalgoorlie was for straight-up-and-down defiance of the chair. Whether people want to make critiques about that, I have to suffer the consequences. As I said, I will not be looking at the tapes, but I can assure you that from time to time I do review my actions. Sincerely, I do not wish to cause any confusion. But I just add that, for the last 50 minutes since that incident, my life in the chair has been much more tranquil and I thank the House for its cooperation.