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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 16 September 2021) . . Page.. 2580 ..

I will be brief. The committee has been working productively throughout the inquiry. I would like to thank the Assembly’s secretariat, headed by Mr David Monk, for their professional and diligent support. The committee has received 59 submissions and has held five public hearings, the last being on 30 July. These public hearings comprised almost four half-day sessions and one full day.

The committee’s current reporting date is the last sitting day in October. My understanding is that, as a result of the motion moved this morning, that is now the 8th. For other obvious reasons, the COVID outbreak has slowed down the committee’s consideration of its report. The committee has agreed that a reporting date at the end of November would allow it to consider the evidence more fully, while also completing its deliberations in a timely manner.

Finally, I would like to thank my committee colleagues, Deputy Chair Dr Marisa Paterson MLA and Mr Johnathan Davis MLA, for their contributions to a cooperative committee spirit as we consider the significant issue of harmful drug dependency. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Standing order 113A—amendment

MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (11.24): I move:

That standing order 113A be amended by omitting “all non-Executive Members seeking to speak have asked at least one question” and substituting “nine original questions have been asked by any Opposition Member, and other non-Executive Members seeking to speak have asked at least one question”.

In effect, this motion seeks to make changes to the standing orders in line with what we have agreed to today on a temporary basis in an earlier motion; that is, in relation to question time, and Mr Gentleman’s first motion, notice No 1. In essence, it allows any member of the opposition to ask a question in question time, rather than every member. At the moment the process is that every member asks a question. This motion would allow what Mr Gentleman moved before, and which we all agreed to. It was also the practice in the previous lockdown. For instance, Ms Lee, Mr Hanson or Ms Castley could ask five questions or three questions, as long as it adds up to nine, which is the total number of members of the opposition.

We are bringing this in because of the COVID-safe requirements that we have agreed to, in terms of limiting the number of ministers, and we have provided the information about which ministers are required.

I do not quite fathom why the government and the Greens are so resistant to this becoming an ongoing change, and why they seem to want to do it by seeking leave to amend standing orders, by way of a drip-fed process. At the end of the day, we are seeking to do something that we have all agreed in principle works effectively. It is entirely in accordance with the House of Representatives Practice because this is the

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