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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 November 2007) . . Page.. 3680 ..

MR STANHOPE: Yes, Mr Speaker, I have circulated an amendment in my name, which I now move.

MR SPEAKER: You will have to seek leave to move it now.

Mr Seselja: Sorry, did you seek leave?

MR STANHOPE: I am happy to do it when we come back.

Mr Seselja: I did not know whether leave was sought. Sorry.

MR SPEAKER: The Chief Minister sat down, so he will have to seek leave to move the amendment.

MR STANHOPE: I seek leave to move the amendment circulated in my name.

Leave not granted.

Standing orders—suspension

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts) (5.51): I move:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent Mr Stanhope from moving an amendment.

I am moving this motion, Mr Speaker, in order to allow an important amendment to a very important motion to be debated. The amendment that I move, I think, is important. It takes issue with the essential thrust of the motion which Mr Stefaniak has moved on behalf of the Liberal Party and allows a contrary view in relation to these issues to be discussed and debated by the Assembly. I think it is appropriate that the Assembly be given the opportunity to debate a range of views.

I find it quite remarkable that a member should be prevented or not allowed to have debated or explored within the Assembly an amendment that is contrary to the motion put by the mover. It is quite remarkable, I think, for the Liberal Party to believe that the motion, as put to the Assembly by the Leader of the Opposition, is so sacrosanct, so beyond dispute or objection that we would not or should not take the opportunity that the democratic process and the standing orders permit.

I find it quite remarkable that the Liberal Party would object to formally considering or debating a contrary position. I would have thought it was the essence of democracy, the essence of any functioning parliament, that at least it would be given the opportunity to debate a range of views. Surely, that is what an active, functioning democracy is about.

It is the case that I did not have an opportunity to move my amendment. My time expired—and I do regret I did not move it—and I sought indulgence to do so. I would

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