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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1194..


MS MacDONALD (continuing):

disgraceful. The behaviour of Mr Mulcahy and Mr Seselja was deplorable, to the point where I had to ask the committee secretaries to leave the room because of it.

I will finish up in a second because I know that time is getting away from me and the Manager of Government Business will have to extend the debate by half an hour. Throughout the process last year it was my intention to make sure that the budget was scrutinised, and the budget certainly was scrutinised last year. The budget was scrutinised last year and there can be no denying that. At the end of the day, the opposition had plenty of time.

Throughout the process I asked both Mr Seselja and Mr Mulcahy whether they were planning on putting in a dissenting report and what their process would be. The opposition scoffed at me for asking that, but my purposes in doing so was to make the lives of the committee secretaries that little bit easier. I believe that Ms Porter will back me up when I say that until 7 o'clock the night before we had Mr Mulcahy arguing every line in the estimates committee report three times.

It being 45 minutes after the commencement of Assembly business, the debate was interrupted in accordance with standing order 77. Ordered that the time allotted to Assembly business be extended by 30 minutes.

MS MacDONALD: I was saying that I was trying to ensure that the burden on the committee secretaries was not so great, but Mr Mulcahy and Mr Seselja argued over every line—not just over major points, Mr Speaker, but over every line—the night before the report came down, until such time as Mr Mulcahy decided that he had to go to his son's birthday party, I think it was. Their intention was to make sure that no report was presented in this place. They did not get their way. Finally, Mr Mulcahy saw that he was not going to win on that one and we got it through. As Mr Mulcahy and Mr Seselja left, I said, "Are you guys going to put in a dissenting report on the major points that you feel that you want to make?"They said, "We have not decided yet."The next morning we got a report which was over 50 pages in length. It arrived in the secretariat's office at 7.30 in the morning.

Mr Speaker, the figures have come down. According to a breakdown of the transcript for last year, Labor had 20.77 per cent of the time in terms of the amount of time that questions were asked. The Liberals had 57.26 per cent of the time and the Greens had 21 per cent of the time. Mr Speaker, that is the amount of time that they had and that shows the amount of stifling they did. Over 57 per cent of the Hansard was actually dedicated to the opposition's questions, but they say that they were done over, they did not get a fair shake of the leg, they did not get a fair hearing, it was not easy for them and this government obviously was not interested in accountability. That is just garbage.

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (11.48): Mr Speaker, I rise as opposition whip and Manager of Opposition Business to speak to the amendment. I would like to go back a few steps in relation to this amendment. Firstly, it is a very hurried—handwritten—amendment that has come through from the Manager of Government Business. I wish to tackle the Manager of Government Business as a serious issue has arisen here.

Mr Corbell: Please don't.


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