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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 8 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 2525..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

Mr Speaker, I think we have said enough on the housing issue for tonight.

MR SPEAKER: I agree with that.

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, can I just add that I am really grateful for your patience; I am really grateful for your sardonic sense of humour.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Declaration of urgency

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.16): I move:

That this bill be declared an urgent bill.

The government is proposing to deal with the remainder of this bill as an urgent bill. For the past two or 21/2 days there has been significant debate in this place on the Appropriation Bill. The bill was debated for some time on Tuesday, it was debated again yesterday in lieu of private members' business and, finally, it has been debated all of today and all of this evening. As it is now almost 10.15 pm and we have to deal with quite a number of appropriation items, including the Department of Justice and Community Safety, education and training, the CIT, the Exhibition Park Corporation, the legal aid commission, the Public Trustee for the ACT, Actew Corporation, the Cultural Facilities Corporation, the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission and the Treasurer's advance.

We would face a long debate into the early hours of tomorrow morning. I do not believe that is in the interests of good debate in this place. Members have had ample opportunity to deal with a range of issues both in the in-principle debate as well as in the detail stage debate that has occurred to date. It is now incumbent on the Assembly to set a time limit on this debate to provide for the remainder of this bill to be debated and to be passed.

This is an urgent bill. The government requires the budget to be voted on before the conclusion of sittings this week so that the initiatives outlined in the budget and proper planning for the appropriations can be completed and implemented. Therefore, the government believes it is now time to declare this bill urgent.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra—Leader of the Opposition) (10.18): Whilst it would suit my personal circumstances, this is not normal. I state at the outset that I think we could probably do this better. I have already had a chat to the Chief Minister and to some of my people. Given that these debates traditionally range far and wide and take a lot of time, I suggest that in future budgets we could devote the second week of sittings, and if needed the entire week, to budget debate. In future we could even forgo, for example, question time to ensure an adequate debate.

I would like to know just how long the manager of government business is proposing. We do not have all that many items left. This is rather extraordinary. The opposition

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