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MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (3.18): Mr Speaker, I have a feeling that Ms Horodny might not understand what is happening at this time. We have passed over the items on the agenda, as printed on the blue sheet of paper, relating to the Electricity and Water (Corporatisation) Bills; but that is because they have slipped down underneath the matters that come on automatically at 2.30 pm each day. We will be coming back to these Bills this afternoon, and a perfect opportunity exists at that time for the motion that Ms Horodny is now talking about to be moved. We are not going to abandon this issue for today; it is on the agenda for this afternoon.

I simply say to members that we accept that Ms Horodny has a very important point she wants to put before the Assembly. She is entitled to move that motion, and we on this side of the chamber are fully prepared to engage in the debate which flows from her motion; but I think it would be an unfortunate precedent, were we to agree to the suspension, if we put to one side a ministerial statement which is fairly significant, and we have not generally done so in the past. Mr Speaker, it has been the courtesy of this place in the past to allow papers to be presented and ministerial statements to be made before we go back to other matters of Executive business.

All I am asking is that we have the courtesy of letting the Chief Minister make her statement, which is a fairly significant one. I am very happy for this to be brought forward ahead of the two committee reports, although I think it would have been courteous of Ms Horodny to have approached the chairs of the two committees and asked them whether they were happy for their matters to be put to one side. If that is the case, fine, we can bring it up at that point; but she certainly did not ask the Chief Minister whether she could have precedence over her ministerial statement. The statement is about new Administrative Arrangements for the ACT. There are a great many administrative changes to flow from this statement in the Assembly, and there are public servants waiting to put those things in train. It would be appropriate, I think, to allow the Chief Minister to make that statement so that the Assembly is the first to know about these things - not other people - and then we can go onto other things.

Mr Speaker, I think it is absolutely essential that this be done in some different way, but I would say to Ms Horodny that it is a matter of give and take in this place. We are not suggesting that her motion should not be considered today; but it ought to be considered, at least, after the ministerial statement, as has always been the case in the conduct of business in this place.

MR BERRY (3.21): The Opposition will be supporting Ms Horodny's motion. It was a matter that was discussed between parties in the Assembly.

Mr Humphries: Not us.

MR BERRY: Hang on a minute. I will get to you in a minute. It was discussed between parties in this Assembly. It is a matter of some urgency as far as the Greens are concerned and I am prepared to accept the urgency which they give to it. I was also present this morning, Mr Speaker, when it was made clear to the Greens that they would not be given leave to pursue this course.

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