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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 October 2010) . . Page.. 4550 ..

Pairs are agreed in the following circumstances: when ministers are invited to attend functions on ministerial business and reasonable—

reasonable, Mr Speaker—

associated travel; the illness of a member of close family; and other significant personal—

Mr Corbell: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, the motion is about leave of absence for the Chief Minister; it is not about pairing arrangements in this place. There is a question about relevance. We have given Mr Hanson some latitude but he is continuing to propagate this argument. It is not relevant to the motion before the Assembly, and I would ask you to consider the question of relevance.

MR SPEAKER: On the point of order, Mr Hanson?

MR HANSON: Mr Speaker, it is directly relevant. This is the relationship between this Assembly and Mr Stanhope’s leave. As part of that, a consequence of his leave is the pairing arrangement. This is a very important issue regarding voting in this place. We have said that we will be granting leave, but I think it is entirely reasonable for me to outline the details of why we are concerned about Mr Stanhope taking leave and the consequential flow-on from his taking of leave, which is the fact that his government has requested a pair and why we will not be providing it.

MR SPEAKER: On the point of order, I think the issue of pairing is only marginally related. Mr Hanson, you have mostly made the point. Could you perhaps wrap up and come back to the leave matter particularly.

MR HANSON: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I will continue with regard to this letter, just to finalise it, Mr Speaker. It says quite clearly what the requirements are for a pair. It is consistent with Mrs Dunne’s letter, and it is not for people to go on holiday. That is quite clear; that is absolutely clear.

The agreement in this place between the Greens and Labor and the opposition is that a pair is not granted for holidays. Mr Hargreaves, the government whip, knows this and Mr Corbell knows this. In fact, the whole government is fully aware of this. Ms Bresnan is quoted in the media as saying that the Liberals are behaving disgracefully. I do not understand how our simply adhering to a long-established convention in this place that has been agreed to by all members of the Assembly, by all parties, is actually disgraceful. I simply cannot understand that. I find it bizarre and incomprehensible. I find it odd as to what the Greens find disgraceful and what they do not. So the decision or the intent to cut teaching support, learning support, for hearing impaired children is not disgraceful but the decision—

Mr Corbell: Relevance, Mr Speaker.

Mr Smyth: It’s a comparison, it’s context.

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