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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 989 ..

MR BERRY: It should not indeed, but it was a worthwhile signal because it helped me out. It was at 7 pm and I have to confess that, by then, I was at home watching the ABC news and I think I was halfway through a can of beer. I apologise to Mr Humphries for not having the phone under the pillow, or the computer on, but I did not check my emails at home and I would not expect to get them there anyway.

In any event, I rang this morning when I learned about this and told the staff of the Manager of Government Business that we would resist this. The reason that it is on the paper is not because of any agreement with the opposition or any need for discussion between us and the government or anybody else for that matter: it is required to be there by the standing orders because it fell off yesterday.

So far as arrangements between us and the government are concerned, if the government does not want to pursue its executive business it is usually my position, unless there are some special reasons, that we should let the government have its way. I expect the government to deal the same way with us when it comes to private members business and let us have our way about how we deal with that. That is usually the way that this place operates.

This is not a life or death issue. I just think it will clutter up the business. So far as Mr Smyth's appearance here is concerned, I am informed this morning that Mr Humphries will be dealing with Mr Smyth's portfolio matters. My office has been informed accordingly, so there is no need to be concerned about Mr Smyth not being here except, of course, for the censure motion. I would expect him to be here for that.

I do not know the circumstances of Mr Smyth's obligations outside of the Assembly but, if he is attending to this matter as a representative of government, perhaps that ought to have been taken into account by the government when Mr Smyth was chosen to represent them. I say no more than that on that particular subject, but I just do not think that there is any reason not to do this tomorrow. It will involve a bit of debate, because I am absolutely sure that there are members who will want to say something about the process. We cannot avoid that.

I think it should be carried over until tomorrow and dealt with then. We are already faced with a late evening. If, at some time later this day, we can see that we have got through the private members business satisfactorily, and the government wants to bring it back on, then they should come and see us.

MR RUGENDYKE: I seek leave to speak even though the debate has been closed. I apologise for not jumping gazelle-like.

Leave granted.

MR RUGENDYKE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. We have a busy couple of days, I know. I think the point has been made that, technically, this should have been on tomorrow's program. I do not care whether it is debated today or tomorrow. I do not mind supporting the motion, but I hope no-one comes to me tomorrow whingeing that they want to go home early.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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