Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4232 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (12.25): My first comment is a procedural comment about what is happening today. I do not believe this motion is private members business at all. What we are seeing today is the announcement of government policy by way of a backbencher. We have seen this repeatedly throughout the life of this government. Effectively, ideas are floated by the government, no doubt channelled from government advisers and ministers to backbenchers to use in private members time.
Mr Speaker, as you would recall, until the beginning of the Third Assembly private members time finished at 12.30 and afternoons were dedicated to government business. At the beginning of the Third Assembly, when the Carnell government came to office, it was extended to the whole day, because the then opposition and crossbench wanted more time to get non-government business on the agenda. I wondered whether we would revert to the old system when Labor came back into office last year. They have not done that. Instead, they have put a great deal of government business on in private members time. It is an abuse of process.
Mr Corbell: Move a motion to amend standing orders, Mr Humphries.
MR HUMPHRIES: Perhaps we should.
Mr Corbell: I invite you to do it.
MR HUMPHRIES: I will consider doing that, Mr Corbell.
Mr Corbell: We will see what the rest of the Assembly thinks about that.
MR HUMPHRIES: I am sure that somehow you will wheedle the numbers on that. It does not make what is occurring right. Private members business should be principally for non-government members. Practice has been to provide time for government backbenchers-
Mr Corbell: I take a point of order on the grounds of relevance, Mr Speaker. Mr Humphries is not addressing the motion.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Corbell, you probably distracted him with your interjections.
Mr Corbell: But he knows it is disorderly to react to interjections.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Humphries, please do not bait Mr Corbell.
MR HUMPHRIES: I will try not to do so, Mr Speaker.
I turn to the substance of this motion, if there is any. In this debate we have the quite typical stereotype of opposition to this idea. Of course, if you are opposed to portability of long service leave, you must be akin to the owners of coal mines in the 19th century who sent their workers underground for long hours in dangerous conditions and must be in favour of cutting workers off without a penny at the end of their useful time, leaving them with broken limbs and so on and so forth. It is all a little bit of a caricature that goes on here.