Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 25 November 2021) . . Page.. 3671 ..
will not be supporting this motion. I wish to comment on some of the innuendo in Mr Hanson’s comments about the sitting week in terms of breaking off at teatime or not sitting during school holidays. These are important elements to enable members to spend time with their families, which they all too rarely get an opportunity to do due to the demands of this place. Mr Hanson commented that we knock off by teatime. I can tell Mr Hanson that regularly when I knock off here, I go and attend a Gungahlin Community Council meeting. I will not see my family until I get home at, say, 9.30 or 10 o’clock at night. The time that we spend in this chamber is not the entirety of the time that we spend working for the people of Canberra. We will not be supporting this motion.
MS ORR (Yerrabi) (10.22): This is a bit impromptu because I noticed that we had three men and no women talking about the family-friendly hours we have in this place. I think that it is important to recognise—and I am sure Mr Hanson does too—that we need to create workplaces that are inclusive of all people. It is important to our representation. When I was thinking about running for the first time, one of the most formative parts of that journey was hearing Senator Katy Gallagher, the former Chief Minister, talk about how, when she got the numbers in this place, she changed the hours to be family-friendly so that she could go home to her young daughter. It makes a difference what we do.
This is not about cutting back on how we represent our community. We all work really hard. This is about creating a space where everybody has the opportunity to participate, where a young mother, a single mother—we have members in this place who are single mothers—can come forward and participate. It is about creating a space where they can do what they want to do to represent their communities, who have put their faith in them. For Mr Hanson to stand here and say, “This is a ruse; we don’t want to govern; we don’t want to do this; we don’t want to do that”, is misleading everything. It is silly and it is not needed.
MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (10.23), in reply: I must say that I am disappointed with the government. I thought that they would want to work a bit harder. I will take this opportunity to respond to a number of the points. With regard to not working past teatime, I supported that; I agreed with it. I think that was a good move.
Ms Cheyne: Why are you criticising it?
MR HANSON: If Ms Cheyne would listen, I can explain to her why I think that it was a good move. I agree with Ms Orr. I think that we do have other things to do in our community. I was at the Weston Creek Community Council last night and I did not get home till a bit later on. It is a good thing that we can do those things at night. But the problem is that, when we decided we were not going to be sitting in the evenings anymore, we did not then say, “Let’s recognise that there are many hours of a sitting week that we won’t be sitting. Let’s do that during the daytime on a Friday or have another sitting week to compensate for that.” We just abandoned it.
We reduced the un-family-friendly hours of this place, which I think was a good thing, but we did not replace them with anything. We did not then say, “We’ve got rid of seven or eight hours of un-family-friendly work”—or the work that constrains us