In Parliament

Point Of Order - Seeking Leave



Wednesday, 8 March 2023.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (10:06):

On a point of order, Deputy Speaker, I raise a point of order in relation to a matter that occurred just before Member Statements, and I raise it now so as to not interrupt Members as they made their statements earlier. The Member for Sandringham sought leave from the Government to move a motion, and both of the ministers at the table provided leave. The Minister on duty was audibly heard to say yes. The whole chamber heard it. If I can refer you to Rulings from the Chair –

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! If I can just rule on –

James Newbury: Can I finish making my point of order?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The issue at hand is that the Speaker has already ruled on this point of order.

James Newbury: I am seeking guidance in relation to a matter that happened earlier, and I refer you to standing order 115. In light of standing order 115, may I refer you, Deputy Speaker, to Speaker Delzoppo’s ruling that leave is either granted or denied and an explanation is not needed. Clearly the chamber heard that leave was given, and I would ask you if you would refer the matter to the Speaker for consideration, especially in light of what the chamber saw and heard from both ministers. Perhaps if the minister wanted to close his trading app, he could pay better attention to the chamber.

Members interjecting.


James Newbury: But I would ask that you refer the matter to the Speaker for review.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I note, as I said, that the Speaker did rule upon the point of order at the time. I will refer your request to the Speaker. We shall move on.

RESPONSE FROM SPEAKER: Thursday 9 March 2023.

The SPEAKER (09:35):

Yesterday the Deputy Speaker referred to me a point of order raised by the Manager of Opposition Business regarding the handling of a request by a Member for leave to move a motion on the notice paper this morning. As I had already ruled that leave had not been granted, I do not intend to revisit my decision and I therefore rule the point of order out of order.

However, the Deputy Speaker’s referral provides me with the opportunity to provide some guidance to the house about leave. Standing order 140(1) states, in part, that ‘a Member may only move a motion to discuss a subject if he or she has given notice of that motion at a previous sitting of the house’. However, Members may seek leave of the house to waive that notice period and debate it immediately or at a time other than the one scheduled. When something is done ‘by leave’, it is done with the permission of the house. In the Assembly this means it is done without a dissenting voice. In other words, it only takes one member to refuse permission for leave not to be granted.

The former standing orders, drawing on House of Commons practice, defined ‘leave’ as being ‘permission granted without a dissentient voice’. When a motion is moved by leave, the Speaker will inquire of the house ‘Is leave granted?’ to assess the will of the house before proceeding to the motion proposed. If at least one member answers ‘no’, leave is refused and the motion cannot be moved.

I refer Members to May, 25th edition, paragraph 20.8. Regardless of Members saying ‘yes’ or otherwise indicating that leave is granted, any single member saying ‘no’ before the member proceeds to speak to the motion indicates to the Chair that leave is refused, and the Chair is obliged to announce that to the house.