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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4684 ..

MR WHITECROSS (continuing):

we were never going to get through the amount of business we had to do on Thursday in a sensible amount of time. The fact is that there was always too much to do and the Government always intended us to be debating the Appropriation Bill in the middle of the night. That is when they like debating their budget, because they know what a rotten budget it is. Mr Speaker, we would have been happy to come back the next day, but they like to do things in the middle of the night, just as they like to table the financial management statements in the middle of the night.

MR SPEAKER: Relevance!

MR WHITECROSS: It is relevant in a sense, Mr Speaker. Returning to the point: We are happy to support Mr Moore's amendment. We are happy to support the Greens' motion. It is clear that Mr Humphries's main problem is that he cannot organise Government business properly. The Greens introduced this temporary order in the first place because the Government could not fill up their business paper. They are now finding that they are getting into trouble with time. That is something that they need to come and talk to us about in a frank way, not try to make out that their opposition to this proposal is somehow part of an agenda of theirs to look after the Labor Party when we win government at the next election. I support the proposals, Mr Speaker.

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to modify my amendment, on the advice of the Clerk.

Leave granted.

MR MOORE: The amendment then would read:

Omit all words after "That", substitute "standing orders 77(a) and 77(d) be omitted and the following new standing orders 77(a) and 77(d) be substituted ...

MR SPEAKER: Effectively, it is the preamble that is being amended, Mr Moore.

MR MOORE: Yes, Mr Speaker. I have done that on the Clerk's advice.

MS TUCKER (12.11): I will wrap up the debate then. Thanks to everyone for contributing to this. I thought it was going to be quite short. But the way it has turned out has been quite good. I would not quite agree with Mr Whitecross that the prime motivation for this motion from the Greens was that the Government did not have enough business on the notice paper. That was the fact, but the reason that the Greens proposed this was that we do have a diverse range of opinions in this Assembly. That is because the people of Canberra voted for this diversity and a minority government. I think our proposed change to standing orders was to bring the standing orders into line with the reality of the minority government we have in the ACT. I understand Mr Whitecross's point, however. I have to share his concern at the way the business has suddenly piled up.

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