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Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Page: 3499

Mr BRIGGS (3:52 PM) —Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.

The SPEAKER —Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr BRIGGS —Yes, Mr Speaker, most grievously, by the Minister for Health and Ageing.

The SPEAKER —Please proceed.

Mr BRIGGS —During the summing up of the alcopops debate, the Minister for Health and Ageing suggested that in my remarks I indicated that I stood for legalising the drug ecstasy. I have no such position. I am firmly against illicit drugs, unlike the minister for health and those on the other side.

Mr Albanese —Mr Speaker, I ask that that comment be withdrawn.

Opposition members—You cannot ask that.

Mr Albanese —Yes I can. Withdraw it.

The SPEAKER —Order! The member for Mackellar will resume her seat and the Leader of the House will resume his seat. The real difficulty is that, in making his personal explanation, the last phrase of the explanation was debating the point and was outside of a personal explanation. On those occasions in the past where a comment was outside of the processes of the parliament I have invited members to withdraw their comment on that basis, and I ask the member for Mayo to withdraw on that basis.

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The only basis on which you may ask for words to be withdrawn is that they are unparliamentary. The member for Mayo did not make an unparliamentary statement.

The SPEAKER —One of the useful definitions of ‘unparliamentary’ that the member for O’Connor raises with me from time to time is ‘the type of remark that is probably going to lead to disorderly behaviour within the chamber’. The member for Canning has suffered because of the way in which I have ruled in this manner. He said something which I may have allowed him if he had said it in a debate, but I asked him to withdraw it because he made the comment by interjection. I am just saying that the member for Mayo went on to debate the question after making what was a very proper personal explanation. I am simply asking him to withdraw it.

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop —Mr Speaker, further to my point of order, the minister who made the statement about the member who has just made his personal explanation made a similar statement, and I think it would be only reasonable that if you insist on the member for Mayo withdrawing you should also insist that the minister for health do likewise. That would be equitable.

The SPEAKER —I am satisfied that the proper procedure was used by the member for Mayo up until the last few words and I am seeking withdrawal by the member for Mayo.

Mr BRIGGS —I withdraw, Mr Speaker.

The SPEAKER —I thank the member for Mayo.