Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 June 2011) . . Page.. 2160 ..
How about accountability and courtesy to members so that we actually know what is happening?
Members get prepared to debate issues. If Mr Corbell had these as the government’s priority for the day, they would have known, surely, by lunchtime that they were going to do that. Perhaps if they had informed us over the luncheon break people could have been better prepared for this evening but it is the same old lack of courtesy. It is the same old disrespect to the Assembly. It is the same old disrespect to members that you often get from a government like the one we have got. It does fly in the face of the pronouncements this week from the Chief Minister. I do not know if she is embarrassed by the manager of government business’s manner.
Ms Gallagher: No, not at all.
MR SMYTH: “Not at all,” she mutters. That is interesting. How can you talk about new standards of accountability and new standards of openness when you behave in such a way?
MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Order! Members will direct their remarks through the chair, please.
MR SMYTH: As always, Mr Assistant Speaker. I say it again: we had this statement that this was the new-look government; it was going to be more open, more accountable, more responsive and held to account by the community. In a way, that starts with us. We are representatives of various communities. We have all been elected by our communities out there. We are all responsible for answering back to them. When we see things on the notice paper, we go and ask people for their opinion. We make the effort to be prepared. A little bit of courtesy would go a very long way in making that work a lot more smoothly in this place.
I ask the manager of government business to work out (1) what he wants to do on a given day and put it in the right order and (2) actually extend some courtesy to people. If he cannot, I would ask the Chief Minister to perhaps have a chat to your manager of government business and ask why we are having motions to suspend standing orders. It could have been easily avoided. In the 10 minutes or so that it has probably taken, we could have knocked off two or three of these and all gone on to the next bill, which probably could have been done by 9 o’clock.
If you want to behave in this way, we will stand up for ourselves.
MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (7.57): There has been a change to the order of business today; we all know that. The Greens do understand that it is important to get to the bill around the lease variation change tonight—to get that in principle before we move to a debate on Thursday.
I make the point that, yes, the Bimberi inquiry is incredibly important, and many in this place have been watching that very closely. But it was not due to report until the end of June. There is still time. We can move this to Thursday; I do not think it will make too much difference. We can then have that discussion around the proposed extension to that inquiry.