House debates

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Questions to the Speaker

Member for North Sydney

11:58 am

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for the Arts) Share this | | Hansard source

Earlier today you read a statement out from the Federation Chamber concerning conduct in the Federation Chamber. I was alerted earlier today that, while the member for Sydney was speaking, the member of the Speaker's panel who was chairing the Federation Chamber, the member for North Sydney, was actively from the chair encouraging members of the government to move that the member be no longer heard. I would ask you to view the video. I have now had a look at the video, and it is completely consistent with the reports I have received that a member of the Speaker's panel was using the position of chair to encourage members of the government to move that a member be no further heard. I ask that you view the video and report back to the House given the seriousness of what this means for the office of chair in this parliament.

11:59 am

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the Manager of Opposition Business for raising that matter with me. I will consult with the Deputy Speaker and, obviously, make inquiries of the relevant panel member mentioned. But can I reiterate, since everyone's here, there have been complaints I've received about the Federation Chamber—multiple complaints, involving multiple members from each side. The statement the Leader of the House referred to this morning was, unfortunately, ignored again today. And, whilst he's raised the matter, the Federation Chamber, because of the conduct of members in there, is not sitting and won't sit until next year. So the chances of any poor behaviour occurring in the Federation Chamber are zero between now and February next year. Given the matter's before the House, I'll reflect on it and I'll report back, but it won't be today.