Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 2378..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
The opposition will not provide pairs unless we are given a satisfactory explanation. From time to time there are important reasons why the explanation needs to be kept confidential, but the opposition will not provide pairs if at least the whip is not acquainted with the reason for the pair. Sometimes it is important to keep that confidentiality, and we will maintain that confidentiality, but I would like to put on the record that we will, for the most part, observe the niceties of pairs and will not go down the path of the Labor opposition in Queensland in the late 1990s.
Government became almost impossible for ministers because they could not get pairs to go to ministerial councils and the like. Last week, when there was discussion about pairs-the usual arrangement is that the government whip comes to me, the opposition whip, and asks for a pair in advance of someone going away or making himself or herself absent-the government whip did not approach me for a pair. As Mr Smyth said at length, it is unprecedented that pairs are provided in committees. If a pair were provided in most committees in this place they would be inquorate and not able to meet.
Pairs are unprecedented in committees. Those who have experience here, in the House of Representatives and in the Senate will tell anyone who lacks a cursory knowledge of how this system works that pairs are unprecedented in committees. In addition, no-one on my side of politics would countenance providing a pair for someone who just decided to leave town. If somebody had been rushed to hospital we would have provided a pair. I do not know where the member went, whether she went to New Zealand or to Brisbane, as I have heard several stories, but either way she was not on Assembly business on Friday when she should have been here. There was no Assembly business for her to maintain in Wellington, or wherever she was.
No pair was requested and no pair would have been provided if a proper request had been made. Yesterday the Chief Minister said that this was the fault of the opposition because it did not do the gentlemanly thing. The government called Ms MacDonald back. I am sorry if Ms MacDonald incurred expense as a result of her return to the Assembly but that was the government's doing. It was Ms MacDonald's fault for going ahead of time when the business of the committee was not concluded and the Chief Minister's was responsible for calling her back.
It was not necessary to call her back. Surely a grown-up government could cop a few adverse comments in an estimate's committee report. I have been on estimates committees and I have served in governments that have received adverse estimate committee reports and recommendations that they did not like. Those recommendations were addressed appropriately. There was no need for anyone to call Ms MacDonald back, other than the hubris of the Chief Minister.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (5.43): I raise an issue that occurred in question time today and seek clarification from the minister. Yesterday I asked the planning minister:
Did the CEO or any senior representative of ACTPLA write to the CEO of the LDA prior to the auction expressing concern over any aspects of the pre-auction process?