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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004-2005 Week 1 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 241..


DR FOSKEY (continuing):

I am certain that the families concerned-the Coonans, the Tullys and the Tanners-are very ready to hear this matter discussed. They made an appeal to a meeting I was at prior to the election and there is no doubt that anything we can do to make them feel a bit more secure and able to envisage their future is important for us today.

I would hope that we will not waste much more time discussing this motion, because, as I have seen in my two or three days in this place, there is a tendency with greater discussion for speeches to deteriorate. I think that we should be sticking to the point. Therefore, I would like to see us agreeing to the suspension of standing orders and moving on to the substantive debate.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (11.58): Mr Speaker, I would like to make a couple of additional points. In relation to what Dr Foskey said, I do not think that it goes to the merit of the discussion which Mrs Dunne will be leading, although it is quite meritorious. It goes to the fact that the Assembly should be able to discuss business and the Assembly should be able to do its business. If the government is not prepared to fill the time, we should have the right to represent our constituents in the best way we can. There is no reason that the government should be shutting down debate on this subject.

Mr Corbell's statement that he was not ready is laughable. He circulated an amendment to the motion yesterday; so it is not reasonable to argue that he could not be ready and that he did not have enough notice. This is just another example of the government seeking to gag debate. They are not ready. They are lazy. They do not have enough business to bring on, so they do not want to debate anything. They thought they would just have a longer lunch. It is laziness and it is lack of discipline.

For the last couple of days we have been lectured by Ms MacDonald about discipline. We have been disciplined and are ready to go, but the government is not. The government is hiding behind the claim that it did not have notice. The government did have notice and should know exactly what is going on. We have half an hour left here. I am not going to keep us any longer. We are going to try to be disciplined. Seeking to vote down this motion would be just another disgraceful attempt to gag the opposition. We have a right to be heard. We have a right to represent our constituents. Mrs Dunne has a right to represent rural lessees and she should be allowed to do so. The government's attempt to shut down this debate is a disgrace.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo-Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (12.00): I seek leave to move an amendment to Mrs Dunne's motion.

Leave granted.

MR CORBELL: I move:

Omit "Notice No 1"and substitute "Order of the Day No 2, relating to the 150th anniversary of the Eureka Stockade"and add "and if not concluded before question time, continuing after Ministerial statements today.".

Mr Speaker, this amendment simply means that, in response to the opposition's suggestions on this point, the government is prepared to bring forward order of the day


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