Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 25 March 2010) . . Page.. 1597 ..
I have seen various iterations of this motion in the course of the afternoon and they seem to be getting progressively worse rather than progressively better and moving further and further away from the issue that initiated this motion in the first place. This motion that Ms Hunter has moved today clearly grew out of the motion that I raised this morning, because it was clear that members were uncertain as to the operation of the standing order in this instance.
The fact is that we have now got to a situation where we are asking the ethics adviser to advise the Speaker on the operation of and the scope of standing order 156 in relation to basically everything that the territory does. The ethics adviser is essentially being asked, as an example, to advise on the operation of standing order 156 in relation to leases so that everyone who owns a territory lease in the ACT will now have to declare a conflict of interest and absent themselves from the chamber every time there is a debate on a matter relating to leasing, say, residential leasing. It is clearly ludicrous, and it seems to me that the government has cooked this up and suggested it to the Greens as a means of actually debasing the currency.
This was a serious argument and it ceased to be a serious argument. This ceases to be a serious argument, because every member in this place receives a payment from the territory, as do our staff. If you look at that, it means that, every time payments from the territory come into play, we will all have to absent ourselves from the chamber.
The Attorney-General may think that he is clever but really what this boils down to is an attempt to derail a serious and legitimate inquiry as to the scope of the standing orders and how standing order 156 applies in relation to my motion that certain members absent themselves, in accordance with the standing order, from a particular debate. I can count. It seems that this motion will go through and, as a result, the ethics adviser will probably be confronted with a task which is Herculean and which may be beyond his remit or anyone else’s, because his task has been drawn up so broadly.
It is disappointing that, again, the Greens have demonstrated that they are not capable of keeping their word for the length of a day. When we discussed this this morning, Ms Hunter said to me that she undertook that this would be negotiated in good faith with all parties. While some parties were negotiating in good faith, Ms Hunter was on her feet here today moving the motion. And it is another disappointing aspect of having to deal with the Greens in this place.
It is clear that this motion will go through. The Canberra Liberals do not support the motion in its present form, although we did support the concept of the motion when we set out on this task this morning.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Standing and temporary orders—suspension
Motion (by Mr Corbell) proposed: