Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 June 1995) . . Page.. 878 ..
MR BERRY (5.40): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to move a motion in relation to the adjournment of the house.
MR BERRY: I move:
That the Assembly do now adjourn.
Mr Speaker, some time ago, there was a debate about the sitting periods for this house. It is important that we consider what has happened here today. There have been long debates about particular issues. The Government's view has always been that we should rise at about 5.30 pm and, if you want to have a night sitting later on, you negotiate. If you are prepared to negotiate with us to get through your business for this sitting period, we are perfectly happy to have those negotiations; but we are not going to sit idly by and have it rammed down our throats. Mr Speaker, we are not going to sit idly by and have it rammed down our throats, when the Government has been prepared to involve itself in debate all day and has not had the decency to come over and talk to the Opposition about extending the sitting this evening. Nobody should have to tolerate that sort of nonsense.
Mr Hird: I told you that.
MR BERRY: Mr Hird says, “I told you that”. That was about three-quarters of an hour ago. Let us be fair dinkum about this. You have two more days and two more nights. If you want to talk to us about one of those nights becoming a sitting period to get through your business, come and talk to us, by all means; but you cannot impose it upon us and expect us to lie down when you want to move down this path. Members have put in a full day here - the planned full day - and I think they are entitled to quit for the day and come back to deal with business tomorrow. If you want to move into a night sitting tomorrow night or the next night to cover your business, give us a bit of time to plan it. There are people here who want to get home to their families and there are people who have made other arrangements. As far as I am concerned, this place ought to adjourn in order that we can get on with our usual business, come back tomorrow and deal with the legislation. It is not our plan to stop you from getting through your program this week; but what I do want to emphasise is that we will participate and we will be cooperative to the extent that it is negotiated with us in order that we can plan our lives as well.
So, Mr Speaker, I think it is important that we adjourn. It is a quarter to six - well after the time that the Government said we would normally be sitting. They have said in the past that they might extend sittings if there is a need for it; but, if they want to extend the sittings - to Wednesday or Thursday night - they should give us a bit of an idea and we will be happy to negotiate a period of time in order that any outstanding business can be dealt with. But, I think, to try to ram it down our throats tonight is a bit unreasonable.