Fact Sheet B4

Fact Sheet B4: Personal Explanations

 

Summary: This fact sheet guides members who wish to make a personal explanation. In some situations, you can make a statement in the Chamber about an issue that affects you personally. This may be because someone questions your integrity, or you want to correct something you said earlier. You must get the Speaker’s approval to make a statement. Members cannot debate the statement.

Purpose of personal explanantions Making a statement in the Chamber
Getting the Speaker's approval Statements about comments in the Legislative Council

 

Purpose of personal explanations

Personal explanations are a chance for you to explain to the Legislative Assembly something which affects you personally. They are not an occasion for you merely to take issue with remarks about yourself.

You make the statement to explain something publicly. Hansard records the statement.

You can use statements to:

  • correct statements you have made in a debate, which you later realise are wrong
  • apologise to the Assembly, for example for inappropriate comments you made in an earlier debate
  • explain when the press misquotes what you said in the Chamber
  • explain how another member misrepresented you in the Chamber

 

Getting the Speaker's approval

You do not have an automatic right to make a statement. You need to get the Speaker’s permission first. You may only ask for permission to make a personal statement on your own behalf. You cannot ask on another member’s behalf.

The Speaker checks the wording of your proposed statement. It must be brief, and only state facts. The Speaker will remove any arguments or commentary from the draft. Your statement must not include attacks against other members, or raise new issues.

As the statement is about issues directly affecting you, it must only cover personal issues. You cannot use a statement to talk about matters relating to your party generally.

Making a statement in the Chamber

You can make a statement between debates, this is known as ‘at a change of business’. The Speaker and Clerk will discuss the timing with you, but it depends when there is a convenient change of business.

When you make the statement, you must only read the wording approved by the Speaker. If you try to change the wording, the Speaker can stop you from finishing the statement.

Other members must listen to the personal explanation silently, and not interject. Members cannot debate the statement.

Statements about comments in the Legislative Council

You are not allowed to comment on current or pending debates in the Legislative Council.

There is an exception, if the Speaker believes you were seriously misrepresented during Council debates. You may then ask to make a statement to the Legislative Assembly, explaining or rejecting the comments.

The procedure is the same as above, but with one extra step. You must get ‘leave’ (the Assembly’s permission), as well as the Speaker's approval. If any member refuses permission, you cannot make the statement.

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