Speaker Joy Burch has described the behaviour of Liberal MLAs during Question Time yesterday as ”well past the point of unacceptability”.
Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee was ultimately booted from the chamber after making a series of interjections as her colleagues across the floor were speaking.
In a later Tweet, Ms Lee said she had been “kicked out for continuing to hold this Labor-Greens government to account including why they continue to deny Canberrans land for housing.”
“Canberrans deserve more transparency instead of a government intent on shutting down scrutiny,” Ms Lee posted.
Things began to get heated when Canberra Liberals MLA Mark Parton referenced a recent ABC News article that said gambling money flowing to political parties was most extreme in the ACT.
Of this, “more than $12.5 million of the nearly $13 million gambling groups donated in the ACT in the decade to June 2020 went to the ALP and its associated entities”.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr responded to Mr Parton by saying the Labor Party had “moved away” from profiting from poker machine revenue directly.
But the Canberra Liberals questioned the Labor Party’s investment vehicle and where funds were flowing from and to.
Throughout his explanation, Canberra Liberal MLAs could be heard laughing and interjecting.
In a remark which cannot be heard properly other than the word “laundering”, Mr Hanson made a comment which conflated the Labor Party with money laundering. Mr Hanson was told to withdraw the comment, which he subsequently did.
The Chief Minister called the accusation of money laundering “outrageous”.
“That is about as grubby as it gets … disgraceful, disgraceful behaviour. Using parliamentary privilege to suggest something like that is disgraceful and it is not worthy of this place,” Mr Barr said.
“Do better. Politics should be better than this.”
The Opposition Leader was then warned as she continued to laugh loudly throughout Mr Barr’s remarks, which led Ms Burch to issue a stern rebuke.
“The behaviour so far today on interjections has been well past the point of acceptability,” the Speaker told the Assembly.
“My tolerance is exhausted.”
However, this was not the end of Ms Lee’s interjections.
In the end, it was the issue of housing and land release that pushed her to make additional commentary while Minister for Housing and Suburban Development Yvette Berry was speaking.
This was the final straw for Ms Burch who named Ms Lee. She was subsequently removed from the chamber.
It marked a tumultuous start to a double sitting week block.
The Assembly will sit again today (2 June) and next week from Tuesday (7 June) to Thursday (9 June).