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Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Page: 10896

Mr BRIGGS (Mayo) (20:27): I rise again because of the lack of willingness from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, who seems intent on playing texting games and having discussions with a political staffer in the box—who, I might say, if I can give some advice to the political staffer in the box: I previously sat in that box in a previous role. I say to you: you should not participate in debates. It is highly disorderly. It is a privilege to sit in this place. If you want to participate in the debate, young man, go and put your posters on the wall—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms S Bird ): The member for Mayo!

Mr BRIGGS: put your name on the ballot paper.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Mayo!

Mr BRIGGS: No, no, Madam Deputy Speaker, participating in—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Mayo!

Mr BRIGGS: debate from the advisers box is highly disorderly—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Mayo! The member for Mayo!

Mr BRIGGS: and it is inappropriate for political staffers to do so.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Would the member for Mayo like to withdraw for an hour? He will pay respect to the chair.

Mr Briggs interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I disagree. The member for Lyons on a point of order?

Mr Briggs: What is the point of order?

Mr Adams: The point of order is that you are attacking the parliamentary secretary personally, you are not dealing with the bill in detail, and you are attacking somebody in the advisers box.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Lyons will resume his seat. I appreciate his assistance. I will deal with the matter. Member for Mayo, my concern at the moment was the disrespect you were showing to the chair. I will indicate that I will not tolerate it. The member for Mayo will constrain his contribution to the subject of the bill and the amendment before the House.

Mr BRIGGS: Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I apologise for not showing you the appropriate deference, I genuinely do. However, the parliamentary secretary's lack of respect for this debate, playing games with a Treasurer's adviser in the box, who is participating in the debate, is inappropriate. It is not good enough, David. You are better than that. It is absolutely inappropriate—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: And again! The member for Mayo will resume his seat.

Ms King: Madam Deputy Speaker Bird, on a point of order: I ask you to draw the member back to the subject matter of the bill.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Mayo will get the call, but first of all I will remind him—I did not pull him up previously—that we will refer to members by the name of their seat or their position.

Mr BRIGGS: I will continue to refer to the parliamentary secretary, who should answer the questions that have been raised by the shadow finance minister, the member for Goldstein. They are legitimate questions. If he does not know the answers he can use his advisers in the box to get the answers to what are legitimate questions. We do have concerns about the memorandum of understanding. This is a direct attempt to stifle debate.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Mayo will resume his seat.

Mr Fitzgibbon: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: I have been in this place for 15½ years; I do have respect for the member for Mayo, but never in those 15½ years have I heard a member of this place launch an attack on people in the advisers box who have no opportunity to respond in their own defence. I ask you to bring him to order and to have some respect for the orderly processes of the House—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I thank the government whip for his contribution, and I indicate to the House that I am in a fairly good mood in terms of keeping order, but I do not need more assistance than that which has been provided. The member for Mayo, I am sure, will bring his contribution to the point before the House.

Mr BRIGGS: I appreciate the member for Hunter is trying to protect the parliamentary secretary, but that is exactly what I was doing. I was asking the parliamentary secretary to answer the legitimate questions raised by the member for Goldstein, the shadow minister for finance, which he is refusing to do. We can continue to raise questions with the parliamentary secretary. This is an important issue. We think it is very important; the Independents thought it was very important and I am sure the member for Lyne, wherever he is, thinks it is a very important issue. These issues that we are raising are legitimate amendments and deserve answers. This is what the committee stage of the parliament does. You might have been here for 15½ years, Member for Hunter, but you would not have seen a parliamentary secretary in the Howard government refuse to answer questions like this guy is at the moment. It is absolutely appalling that this guy is sitting there, refusing point blank to answer legitimate questions that the member for Goldstein, the shadow finance minister, has rightly put on the record for him to answer. He has got his advisers there, who are in this place to assist parliamentary secretaries not up to their brief and have been sent in to do their job. I should not respond to interjections but I will on this point to the member for Lyons: you had 12 years in opposition and this never got raised. When you were in opposition you voted against the Charter of Budget Honesty. The Labor Party is not interested in moving bills in this regard; they are trying to stifle what is a legitimate— (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): I call the Chief Government Whip, the member for Hunter.