Thursday, 23 October 2008
Leader of the Opposition
Suspension of Standing and Sessional Orders
That so much of the standing and sessional orders be suspended as would prevent the Leader of the House moving a motion without notice to require the Leader of the Opposition to immediately:
- condemn and retract attacks by members of the party he leads on the Governor of the Reserve Bank and on the Secretary of the Treasury; and
- apologise for and retract his own reckless and irresponsible attack on the Secretary of the Treasury in question time on Tuesday at a time of global financial crisis.
That the question be now put.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I ask you to take action against the member for Warringah. You witnessed that.
I did not hear what the member said, Minister.
Mr Pyne interjecting
My time has expired, Chris.
It is my turn to speak.
No, I can at any time move that the question be put and I have done so.
Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: the Leader of the House has moved a motion. His time has expired and it is now the opportunity of the opposition to respond.
Member for Sturt, you have not yet got the call.
Madam Deputy Speaker, this is jackboot government, bullying of the Leader of the Opposition.
The member for Sturt will resume his seat. The member for Sturt is warned!
Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: I note that that is the second warning for the member for Sturt today and I ask that you take the appropriate action and name him.
I have warned the member for Sturt, thank you, Minister.
Are you going to take action?
I move that the question be now put.
Opposition members interjecting—
The minister did have the call. I called the minister.
For the third time, I move that the question be now put.
Order! The minister is entitled to ask that the motion be put at any time and I now put the question. The question is that the question be now put.
Original question put:
That the motion (Mr Albanese’s) be agreed to.
That the Leader of the Opposition be required immediately, for a period not exceeding five minutes to:
- condemn and retract the irresponsible and reckless attack on the independence of the Governor of the Reserve Bank by the Member for Canning this morning, when he said “the fact that Glenn Stevens has been caught out he put up the interest rates before the election, during the election, when the rest of the world were bringing down interest rates. And now, in a way to cover the Government’s inept behaviour, they are bringing down interest rates at probably the most rapid rate Australia has ever seen. It really is chaotic, shambolic”;
- condemn and retract the unprecedented attack on the truthfulness of the Secretary of the Treasury by Senator Abetz yesterday; and
- apologise for and retract his own reckless and irresponsible attack on the Secretary of the Treasury in Question Time on Tuesday at a time of global financial crisis.
In the last three days we have seen three unprecedented attacks from the Liberal Party of Australia—
Mr Deputy Speaker, I have a serious point of order to you. On behalf of the opposition I seek your ruling as to whether this motion is in order, given that it not just condemns the Leader of the Opposition but requires him to undertake an action which in our view is a potential breach of privilege of the House and therefore out of order.
Mr Deputy Speaker, further to the point of order raised by the member for Sturt: this motion puts words in the mouth of a member of this parliament. It is a fundamental affront to all Westminster principles for this parliament to seek to control the words and the thinking of another member of parliament. It is absolutely essential that this motion, this act of institutional—
Mr Deputy Speaker, I raise a point of order in relation to the purported dissent from your ruling. As I understand it, having been in this place for 18½ years and on the Procedure Committee, there actually needs to be a ruling before a dissent motion can be put. In this instance the procedure that is being adopted is the procedure since Federation, which is that a motion is read and at the completion of the motion being read and placed before the House it can then be circulated. What the opposition are asking for is unprecedented and in my view disruptive.
Mr Deputy Speaker, on the point of order: I very clearly asked you a quite specific question for a ruling on the order of this motion. You ruled that it was in order and I am moving dissent from your ruling.
In the last three days we have seen unprecedented attacks from the Liberal Party on Australia’s independent financial regulators. The fact is we have seen at a time of global financial crisis—
Opposition members interjecting—
Mr Deputy Speaker, you know perfectly well that a dissent motion takes precedence over any other motion before the House. You must take that motion. That is a fundamental principle of the House and you know it full well. I ask you therefore to give me the call to speak to the dissent motion, which is in writing, moved and seconded.