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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 3255 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Mr Moore is not present. What the ACT Liberal Government has done here has been a significant departure from convention. What Mr Stanhope needs to understand is that practice in parliaments is constantly changing conventions anyway. The conventions that operated 50 years ago in Australian parliaments have changed significantly in the last 50 years.

What is happening here is also a part of that process of change and it is not something to be frightened of and to run squealing from the house expressing concern about.

Mr Stanhope: Do not be afraid to debate it, then. Do it openly.

MR HUMPHRIES: We are debating it now.

Mr Stanhope: Yes, because I brought it up.

MR HUMPHRIES: But we have debated it plenty of times before and we have defended the position the Government has taken.

Mr Stanhope: You have not debated it plenty of times before. You've never debated it.

MR SPEAKER: Order, please! You have made your speech.

MR HUMPHRIES: You cannot have a debate when one person shouts down another party, Mr Stanhope. Let me make the point that we are happy to debate this system and to point out that it is an important way for government, particularly in the ACT context where minority governments are quite likely to be the order of the day, to be able to have a new approach to parliamentary practice.

Mr Moore: Watch how Victoria approaches it.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Moore reminds me that minority governments are increasingly becoming common across this country. Virtually every jurisdiction has experienced that at some point or another in the last few years. Minority governments are going to have to work out some better way of being able to deal with views other than the ones that are contained within their own party rooms. It might not be palatable for those parties concerned, but the fact is that transition is occurring in these matters and the Liberal Party in the ACT is proud to be experimenting with different ways of successfully approaching these matters.

Mr Moore has sat in the Liberal Party Government for over a year - close to a year and a half. The world has not ended. Good government has gone on in that time. Mr Moore has discharged his duties in the health portfolio with considerable achievement. He is now the longest serving state or territory Health Minister in Australia after Dean Brown.

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