Point Of Order re References to Ethnicity

by Desk Editor on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 — 11:46 AM

On 05 November 2015 ACT MP for Epsom David Seymour raised a point of order regarding Personal Reflections and Unparliamentary Language – References to Members’ Ethnicity.

DAVID SEYMOUR (Leader—ACT): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. It is with specific respect to Standing Order 120, “Personal reflections”. May I preface this point of order by saying I understand that points of order should be raised at the first available opportunity. In light of these circumstances, that is what I am doing. I think, Mr Speaker, that you will see that the nature of this issue says that it must be dealt with.

On Tuesday night during the shop trading hours debate, a member told two other members that if they do not like New Zealand, they should go back to the countries whence they came. I believe that this brings this House into serious disrepute—that an elected New Zealand citizen should be reflected upon personally and have views imputed upon them according to their ethnic background. That is wrong. That is a disgrace. The member must stand, withdraw, and apologise.

Mr SPEAKER: I thank the member for his point of order. I am aware, generally speaking, of the debate. It was certainly a heated debate. I think there were some comments made at the time that were not interrupted by a presiding officer. I think those comments were very unfortunate, but the matter has now passed. It is not an issue that I can rule on at this stage.

David Seymour: Speaking to the point of order.

Mr SPEAKER: I have spoken to the point of order. If the member has a fresh point of order, he can raise it, but I have made a decision in that regard. Is it a fresh point of order?

David Seymour: Only that—

Mr SPEAKER: No. I am just warning the member—I do it with all sides of the House—that I have litigated that and the time is past. It is an incident that I think is regrettable, it has occurred, but I can do no more about it now that it is 24 hours on.

DAVID SEYMOUR (Leader—ACT): I seek leave for the member to make an apology—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! No. The member cannot seek leave on behalf of another member. [Interruption] Order! [Interruption] Order! No, the member will resume his seat. Equally, those people sitting near Mr Seymour should not carry on a conversation across the floor of this House.

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