Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 15 Hansard (15 December) . . Page.. 4908..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
conducted in this place quite effectively in terms of the utilisation of time and it would seem unnecessary, given the number of Friday sittings that have not been proceeded with this year. I commend the sitting calendar to members.
MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (12.07): I move:
I believe the amendments to the sitting pattern 2006 that I have moved are practicable and workable. How can I say that? What strikes me is: if members of the federal government can organise themselves to manage to attend necessary ministerial councils on sitting weeks, how come we cannot do that in a small jurisdiction like that of the ACT?
I have in front of me the sitting pattern for the federal parliament next year, and it would seem to me that we and ministers here would certainly be able to fit in with the pattern of ministerial council meetings and so forth. I have to say, from where we sit on this side of the house, that it simply is bad and poor management and planning on the part of the manager of government business not to get his house in order. As I said, with the extreme case workloads of federal ministers, if they can attend sittings and ministerial councils, working with their bureaucrats, surely we can do that in the ACT.
Initially, I was given two reasons that this altered pattern could not be agreed to. One was that it would be difficult for the public service and the other was that there are ministerial meetings to attend, which Mr Corbell has just alluded to. I find those both really pathetic reasons not to have worked a little harder to bring our timetable into line with that of the federal government.
Another point worthy of mention is, as Mr Corbell has said and Mr Quinlan accepted with some glee, the absence of Friday sittings. It would seem that we have a four-year Assembly here and we are stretching three years of work formerly into four years. Is that perhaps the reason? It seems that we are doing less and less work in this place-more and more federal bashing but less and less focus on local issues, which is rather disappointing.
I note again the lack of Friday sittings and perhaps some unwillingness of the government to even consider looking at the suggestion of moving these dates. Does this indicate another slack year from the government? Is it a further indication of a slowdown? Are we on a go-slow? I will not go on too much more-I will not prolong the debate-but I understand the government will not be supporting my amendment. For the public record, I think it was workable, it was manageable-and it just shows to me that we have poor, bad management here if we cannot organise ourselves when the federal parliament can.