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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 2 Hansard (12 February) . . Page.. 362..


Standing and temporary orders—suspension

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Housing, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for Ageing) (10.55): I move:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent Mr Rattenbury from moving amendments.

It is clear that the opposition has developed a concern around this particular provision, which it flagged about 15 minutes or so ago. Obviously that has not been addressed. My understanding is that these amendments have been made available to the opposition. They are very simple amendments; they are quite technical in nature. I am surprised. I will be interested to hear Mr Coe's comments, given that he has declined to grant leave, as to why this is problematic. But given that they are minor and technical in nature, this provision exists for these sorts of provisions. Clearly the intent is that prior notification should have been given; if that is not the case, then I apologise to Mr Coe, but I am quite certain that it has. I put to the Assembly that there is no reason not to proceed with this legislation this morning.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (10.56): I am concerned about the use of this provision to suspend standing orders to, in effect, do exactly what was allowed prior to standing orders being changed. We heard repeatedly from the government and from the Greens in the past Assembly, including Minister Rattenbury, that due process is giving people appropriate notice, appropriate warning, about changes to legislation through amendments. I had a briefing on this bill last week, and it was not flagged that amendments would be moved. That was last week, just a few days ago. I fail to see how we can suddenly say that we have had an opportunity to look into this. I do not think this is appropriate, and for that reason we will not be supporting the motion for the suspension of standing orders.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Housing, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for Ageing) (10.57): I will just clarify, given Mr Coe's comments. Mr Coe did receive a briefing last week. At the time, he asked whether there were any amendments, and the answer he was given was no, which was correct at the time. Unfortunately, later that afternoon PCO did identify these two mistakes. As I flagged in my speech, PCO picked up these two quite technical issues. They were communicated to Mr Coe's office yesterday and explained to him, or explained to his office. And there was a call put through this morning just to check whether there were any concerns about that.

I think that the intent of this standing order—Mr Corbell spoke to this in his earlier remarks—is that clearly there is meant to be a space where amendments should not be rushed in. But the fact that there is also the capability to move past these where this sort of minor issue arises I think is the intent of the standing orders. If the Liberal Party wants to discuss changing that, fair enough: let's take it to admin and procedures and have that conversation. But I think that coming in today and refusing leave without any prior indication, despite certainly my office's efforts to—


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