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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 9 December 2010) . . Page.. 6060 ..

MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (10.53): The Greens support 14 weeks for the sitting calendar, and this is based on a number of factors. We have looked over the years of the Assembly, and 14 weeks is the average sitting period. Apart from the first few years of operation, the Assembly has had between 11 to 14 sitting weeks since 1995. Three were 15 sitting weeks in 1994, 1993 and 1992, 19 in 1991 and 17 in 1991, but since 1995 it has been between 11 and 14 sitting weeks. Some of the sittings that sat for 15 weeks or more only had one sitting day in the week and some had four days. It depended on what the business was during that time, but the average is 14 sitting weeks, and since 1995 there have been between 11 and 14 sitting weeks.

We believe that 14 weeks is the maximum number of weeks required. This is comparable to the federal parliament. It also takes into account the fact that we would continue to have the late sitting each sitting week that we now have. I note, too, that we need to remember that, along with the sitting weeks, a lot of committee work takes place. This is not just through budget estimates and annual reports; there are quite a number of inquiries being undertaken by the committees. We need to take that into account as well in terms of the fact that that is important work of the Assembly and is often the primary way that the public and community organisations get to provide input to the Assembly. We need to take that into account when we are talking about the important work we do here in the Assembly.

I am not going to comment on some of the issues that Mrs Dunne raised, because we need to stop having this debate about who works hard and who does not. We all work hard here, and we have a lot of important work that we do during sitting weeks but also through committees and other work we do as local members. We support the 14 sitting weeks.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.56): The government will not be supporting Mrs Dunne’s amendment either. It is a nonsense to suggest that the only time members are at work is when the Assembly is in session. That is clearly not the case—well, it may be the case for the opposition. In fact, I think many of us suspect that that is their modus operandi in this place. They think they only have to turn up for work when the Assembly is in session, but the rest of us do not think that. The government will not be supporting the Liberal Party’s amendment.

Question put:

That Mrs Dunne’s amendment be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 6

Noes 11

Mr Coe

Mr Seselja

Mr Barr

Ms Hunter

Mr Doszpot

Mr Smyth

Ms Bresnan

Ms Le Couteur

Mrs Dunne

Ms Burch

Ms Porter

Mr Hanson

Mr Corbell

Mr Rattenbury

Ms Gallagher

Mr Stanhope

Mr Hargreaves

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