Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 2 June 2003
Page: 15600

Mr TANNER (3:33 PM) —Mr Speaker, my question relates to the conduct of question time last Thursday—I ask it now because we did not have an opportunity to ask questions of you at the conclusion of question time last week—and to the use of indulgence in this chamber. Mr Speaker, you may recall that during question time last Thursday the Prime Minister sought indulgence from you and was granted that indulgence. During the comment that he made as a result of getting that indulgence, he described the behaviour of the member for Reid as `quite reprehensible' and demanded that the member for Reid apologise for questions he had asked in this chamber.

Having understood that the indulgence mechanism is usually used in this place for, essentially, noncontroversial and nonpartisan purposes, and noting that it is not subject to the same, shall we say, slightly unbalanced rules that apply to questions and answers, I would like to ask you: if a minister at some future time launches an attack on a member of the opposition during question time, will you then grant indulgence to either the Leader of the Opposition or the member so criticised in order that they might respond in an equivalent way to the way in which the Prime Minister responded to the member for Reid?

The SPEAKER —I thank the member for Melbourne. As the member for Melbourne is well aware, subsequent events in the chamber indicated that the chair was, in fact, not in a mood to be other than even-handed. I hope that is the prevailing atmosphere in the chair at all times. So far as indulgence is concerned, I will check the Hansard record and, even more pertinently, the tape, because I was concerned when the Prime Minister made that comment. From memory, I did intervene by interrupting the Prime Minister. As I said, I will check the tape and report back to the member for Melbourne. As the member for Melbourne is aware, subsequent events indicated that the chair was exercising appropriate balance on that occasion.