House debates

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Questions to the Speaker

Standing And Sessional Orders

3:18 pm

Photo of Darren ChesterDarren Chester (Gippsland, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek your guidance under standing orders 89 and 90 that deal with disorder, offensive words and imputations of improper motives. I specifically refer to the term 'rort' and the use of that term during question time in the last couple of weeks. The Treasurer has used the term on a frequent basis and, today, the minister for infrastructure used the term to refer to those opposite. Interjections from this side then referred to the member for 'Ballarort'—again, the use of that term.

Hon. Members:

Honourable members interjecting

Photo of Darren ChesterDarren Chester (Gippsland, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr Speaker, it's a serious question to you. Mr Speaker, the word 'rort' refers to fraudulent or dishonest acts. I'm not sure how it assists the orderly conduct of this chamber to have unsubstantiated claims of fraudulent or dishonest acts when there are mechanisms in the House for dealing with those matters, so I'm seeking your ruling on the specific use of the word 'rort' in future question times.

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) Share this | | Hansard source

Just to that question, when you're considering the use of the word 'rort', I ask that you also consider the history of the word being used in this place. My understanding is it first started to be used a lot by Peter Costello and was put to him by his then staffer Tony Smith, who turned out to be a pretty good authority for what's reasonable in this place

3:20 pm

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the Leader and I thank the member for his question. I will take that into consideration and get back to him. But on the question of titles, if someone uses the incorrect title, I will call them up on that.