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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3471 ..

Chamber-seating arrangements

MR KAINE (12 midnight): I have a few comments that I would like to make in this adjournment debate. Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I have always admired the way that we in this place wholeheartedly take on new innovations in the way that we make this place work increasingly efficiently.

One of the most recent innovations I have noticed that are really taking on is having advisers or staffers sitting alongside us on the floor of the house. This is a big step forward because those staffers are able to make sure that we do not knock over our glass of water, that we keep all our papers in order, that we do not lose our place in the script, and that we perform to our absolute best. There is a bit of a problem, however, because at the moment only a minority of the members that do this. That makes the rest of us look like clever dicks who think we can handle it all by ourselves.

In order to dispel that illusion, I suggest that we provide two chairs at each desk and we can all have a staffer or an adviser of our choice sitting next to us to make sure that we do the job right, that we do not make any mistakes, do not make ourselves took stupid, and generally so that things will move along much more efficiently.

Innovation being the thing, I see this as only being a further step in evolution. After we all get comfortable with the idea of having a staffer or an adviser sitting next to us, the next thing is that we can let them speak for us. Let's face it; many of them write our speeches. They make sure that the syntax and the grammar is right, that the content is accurate, that there are no glaring mistakes and that we have not misspelled any two-syllable words or anything like that. We can occasionally experiment by letting our staffers and advisers speak for us. In some cases they would probably do better than we do and obviously the place would get along much better. In some cases we know that we wouldn't have to have our own staffer or adviser; we would have to have somebody else's staffer who actually wrote the speech to come down and deliver it for us. So we could make allowances for that.

It doesn't stop there because if this works we, the members, can go and sit up there and just observe. I am sure that the place would function magnificently because the staffers can do it just as well as we can, probably better.

Do you think that is the end of it? Oh no. Eventually we do not even have to sit up there; we can let the staffers do this. There is a next step, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker. Obviously, with all this spare time that we members now have, we will need more money because we will have more leisure time. We will need more money so that we can do our jobs better while the staffers and the advisers are in here making this place work. So we will all need a pay rise.

This all sounds fanciful, doesn't it? It sounds a bit bizarre, doesn't it? Well, I submit, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, that we have already taken the first step with staffers sitting on this floor to make sure that members do not make mistakes and to keep them up to the mark. We have already taken that step. The rest of the steps are no more bizarre than that one. It's a real joke, isn't it? Or is it, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker?

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