Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 3709 ..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
and that they should be answered within five working days. I was trying to plumb whether that was still the case and whether there was any intention to do anything about the fact that ministers were being tardy in answering correspondence and dealing with constituent matters.
That is the genesis of the question. The question was drafted in my office. I cannot recall whether it was by me or by my staff, but it was something that we discussed and it was part of a program to get a minister to answer correspondence. It was not in any way directed to Mr Wood, because I did not have any problems getting an answer out of Mr Wood on anything.
Motion (by Ms MacDonald ) put:
That the debate be adjourned.
The Assembly voted-
Ayes 9 Noes 8 Mr Berry Ms MacDonald Mr Cornwell Mr Smyth Mr Corbell Mr Quinlan Ms Dundas Mr Stefaniak Mrs Cross Mr Stanhope Mrs Dunne Ms Tucker Ms Gallagher Mr Wood Mr Humphries Mr Hargreaves Mr PrattQuestion so resolved in the affirmative.
Suspension of standing and temporary orders
MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition) (11.51): Mr Speaker, I move:
That so much of the standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent a Minister moving a motion of censure of the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr Speaker, this house has debated on a number of occasions in previous parliaments the procedure with respect to censure motions. On a number of occasions, members have publicly mooted censure motions and on each occasion, to the best of my recollection, the house has come to the view that, if a member is being threatened with a censure motion, the censure motion should be moved at the first available opportunity. The reason for that convention is very simple. It is that members who face that, of course, are facing a quite serious matter and it is appropriate and fair that the house put that business before other business of the day.
The standing orders-indeed, the self-government act, I think-require that a motion of no confidence in the Chief Minister have priority over all other business and be set aside for the first available sitting day after seven days, et cetera. Similarly, in the same tone, members have taken the view that when the Assembly sits and a censure motion is being discussed publicly, it should be moved at the first opportunity. Members opposite obviously wanted to hear what was happening in the privileges debate, but they have chosen to adjourn that debate for reasons which have not been explained to this house.