Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 344 ..
MR SPEAKER: Ms Tucker, you sought guidance on the same-question rule. Logically, if the standing orders are suspended, then the rule does not apply. But even if it did-and I have taken some advice on the subject-I do not think it would apply in this case.
MR CORBELL (Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (4.50): Mr Smyth is not proposing to move the same motion as he moved yesterday. In fact, if you look at the minutes of yesterday's Assembly, you will see Mr Smyth has dropped paragraph (2) of the motion that was agreed to yesterday. He can hardly claim that he wants to recommit that motion or to have it strengthened, when he has not included the whole motion that was proposed yesterday. In fact, he has left off 50 per cent of yesterday's motion.
Mr Speaker, I made it very clear in my comments yesterday that I did not believe that the government was under any obligation to agree with the motion. I could have done something different. I could have let the motion go through and then ignored it. But I did not want to do that. I wanted to make it very clear to members that I did not agree with it, that the government did not agree with it and that we did not intend to implement it. I made that quite clear on the public record. I did not try to sneak around and pretend to do something without doing anything. I made it quite clear up front what my response was going to be.
If the Liberal Party are unhappy with the result, then there is private members business next sitting Wednesday and there are plenty of other opportunities for them to raise this matter. But yesterday they did not direct this government to do anything. The Assembly yesterday did not direct the government to do anything. The Assembly requested the government to do certain things. It was not a direction. The accepted convention is that the government of the day is responsible for the administration of the territory and the Assembly can request things. But it is not incumbent on the government to adhere to those things unless the motion says so.
As Ms Tucker outlined, the convention which is evolving in this place is that the legislature does not interfere in the responsibilities of the executive. I am prepared to be held entirely accountable for my actions yesterday. I am prepared to go to any meeting in Gungahlin you like and defend my actions, because I have every confidence that my actions would be vindicated.
MR CORNWELL (4.53): Mr Speaker, I am absolutely appalled at this decision, because you are rendering this house superfluous. There is no purpose in any of us debating matters here. We might as well just rubber stamp them and go home. I do not know what the people of the ACT would think about this, but this is the truth.
Mrs Dunne: Being accountable is tough.
MR CORNWELL: It is about being accountable. You cannot afford to laugh at the moment, Chief Minister. You have an extremely great responsibility to the people of the ACT, particularly those in Weston Creek. I would not laugh about this. We all have a responsibility. We have all been elected to this place by various people. To say now it does not matter and that the majority, the government, will do as they choose reduces the rest of us to a rubber stamp. There is not any point in this Assembly continuing for longer than however long it takes to get through a notice paper by rubber stamping everything.