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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 343 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

The reason for moving for the suspension of the standing orders is that if we do not pass a motion today to clearly direct the minister to adhere what the Assembly, representing the people, has said, then what respect will we have for this place and what respect will the government have for the motions that are put to it?

Many people have served in this place for a long time and have had respect for the motions of this place. Ms Tucker and others have served here a long time and have adhered to conventions. If we are not given the opportunity to move a motion before the house rises, certain actions will be taken by the government arrogantly and by the minister arrogantly that will make a nonsense of what the majority of the community representatives yesterday said that they would like to occur.

We are asking for six weeks of consultation with the community, a community that has spoken out and is being ignored by the government. If this motion to suspend standing orders is defeated, it will allow the government to ignore the community. That would be a very bad precedent.

In the past when governments have ignored calls, the next step has always been to direct the government. It is the next logical step. That is why we seek the suspension of standing orders today.

MS TUCKER (4.48): I do not disagree with the comments from Mr Smyth about the unacceptable response from Mr Corbell to the motion yesterday. I also think it was a rather arrogant and inappropriate response. But I will not be supporting the suspension of standing orders, for two reasons.

The first reason is the same-question standing order. I would seek your guidance on that, Mr Speaker. My concern is that this place will become totally unruly if we start suspending standing orders to avoid the same-question standing order because people are not happy with the way a question was resolved the day before. Yes, I have been here long enough to have heard this discussion before. Having been here for a long time, I have learnt and I respect the need to keep proceedings in any parliament orderly. I do not believe that motions such as this would be useful in ensuring orderly proceedings.

I agree that it was not a good response from Mr Corbell, but I know the government is going to give other responses we are not happy with. Fundamentally, the government has the right to do that if it wants to.

That takes me to the second point, which is the question of directing. When I spoke to Mr Smyth about this, he said, "But what about the Gallop inquiry?"I learnt from the Gallop inquiry. I do not have time to go into detail, but I learnt that we have to be clear that we do not blur the lines between government and the Assembly. There are serious issues of governance here.

If we start thinking that the Assembly can direct the government of the day to do something, as has been implied by what Mr Smyth said, then we are seriously crossing the lines that are normally drawn in the Westminster system. For that reason I am not prepared to support this motion.

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