Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 16 September 2021) . . Page.. 2577 ..
I thank the Minister for Corrections, the Minister for Health, Minister for Human Rights and the Treasurer for their contributions in developing this bill. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Ms Lee) adjourned to the next sitting.
Proceedings during COVID-19 lockdown
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.18): I move:
That this Assembly:
(1) acknowledging that the Assembly is meeting during a time where the Chief Health Officer has made health directions restricting movement in the Territory and mandating masks, and that the Assembly should ensure that at all times it is operating within the confines of the health advice and minimising the risks of COVID, resolves that:
(a) there should be a minimal number of Members and staff in the Chamber as possible while still allowing for the conduct of Assembly business;
(b) the Members intending to speak to matters that are being debated before the Assembly shall, as far as possible, be agreed to before any sitting day so as to minimise movement in the building; and
(c) questions without notice should continue to operate, but to decrease the presence of Members in the Chamber at any given time, non-executive MLAs, may ask more than one question each up to the normal allocation of non-executive questions for each party (e.g. if the Greens have three non-executive Members present on the sitting day they will have three questions, if any Member is absent on a sitting day the questions reduce proportionately). All whips will notify the Manager of Government Business within an hour of question time which Ministers are required to answer questions so that any Minister not required will not need to attend;
(2) in circumstances where a standing order or a resolution of the Assembly requires a response (as at 16 September 2021) in August, September or October 2021, so much of standing orders be suspended as would enable such responses to be lodged within two months of the stipulated date; and
(3) this suspension shall stay in place until 15 October 2021.
This motion formally adopts the informal practice of this place during last year’s COVID-19 safe sittings. The motion sets out sensible principles. I believe it is also consistent with the agreement between the three whips in this place. It is important not only that this place continues to sit, even during COVID-19, but also that we do so in the safest possible way. This is being achieved by formalising past practice through this motion.