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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 551 ..

Mr Moore (continuing):

assistance I am sure the government would be very relaxed about giving him leave to have that kind of assistance if he feels it is necessary.

Mr Kaine: It is a bit late, minister, I suggest.

Mr Stefaniak: No problem.

Mr Stanhope: If I may add to the discussion: I do acknowledge, as we all do, Mr Speaker, that Mr Kaine is the only true Liberal left in the place.

MR SPEAKER: Relevance, Mr Stanhope.

Mr Stanhope: I guess he is expressing that rugged individualism that was, I understand, a hallmark of liberalism. The fact that Mr Kaine is the only Liberal left is probably reflected in his comments. Having said that-

MR SPEAKER: I trust you are not reflecting on the chair, Mr Stanhope.

Mr Stanhope: Absolutely not, Mr Speaker. I am sure that were you down here you would have similar views to mine. Perhaps, Mr Speaker, you misunderstood, or perhaps I did. I think Ms Tucker's point was that each of us, in relation to our consideration of this bill, had to rely very heavily, as you would expect, on officers within our offices. Mr Stefaniak has relied on a departmental officer. We, of course, do not have that same capacity. I have relied on officers on my personal staff.

I have no difficulty with Mr Stefaniak being assisted by a departmental officer. Mr Kaine does have some issues around that. Should the occasion arise during the debate that I feel the need to consult a member of my staff, rather than rushing to the back of the room today to consult with him it would be more convenient and efficient if I had him here. I think that is what Ms Tucker was saying. She was not suggesting that we should have access to the departmental official, but rather one of our own officers. It might be more convenient, rather than rushing to the back of the room all day, to have them sitting here.

Mr Stefaniak: I have no problem with that. We have done that before.

Mr Stanhope: On the other issue, I do disagree with you, Mr Kaine, which is a very rare occurrence these days, but every other parliament does have arrangements whereby officials assist ministers in complex and difficult debates.

MR SPEAKER: Yes. I think, Mr Stanhope, that your interpretation and mine initially were the same. I understand now what the other members are saying-that they require assistance on the floor as well. However, I am a little reluctant to-

Mr Kaine: Mr Speaker, if I may speak briefly again: I have now just received six different sets of amendments. They have just been put on my desk.

MR SPEAKER: So have I.

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