Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (13 March) . . Page.. 1009 ..
received yesterday, that the motion will lead the world on reform. The information I received today indicates that may not be the case.
But I do not know that the citizens of Nome, Ulan Bator, Puerto Maldonado or even Salonica would be falling over themselves with amazement at this matter coming up here. Like my colleague Mrs Dunne, I would welcome the involvement of Mrs Cross in matters pertaining to constituents rather than to matters pertaining to this chamber-and, may I say, a matter pertaining to this chamber that is not of major concern at the moment. I take Ms Tucker's point that there is plenty of time to examine this-unless, as far as the female members are concerned, there is something I do not know.
That said, I believe that it is important that we allow time to examine this matter. It does not need to be rushed. I do not think it will be a groundbreaking decision, whatever may come down-although I must admit that putting a motion of dissent from the Speaker's ruling on the notice paper is certainly a world first in my knowledge. I had always understood that motions of dissent were to be acted on immediately. However, that is another matter and I will leave that to Mrs Cross to consider for herself.
Therefore, I am happy to stand here and say that I support Ms Tucker's amendment to this extremely dogmatic motion, and I trust that other members will have the good sense to support the amendment as well.
MS DUNDAS(11.20): At this point I will address solely Ms Tucker's amendment and express my support for it. There are many things that need to be considered when we are amending the standing orders of this place. When we go back to debating the in-principle motion, I will make quite clear my support for the intent of what Mrs Cross is trying to do today and the need to re-examine our society's attitudes to working mothers and mothers who are breastfeeding.
If we are trying to build this Assembly into a family friendly environment, there are a number of issues that need to be explored. I believe that the Administration and Procedure Committee could be the best way to do that.
Just a quick flick through the standing orders raised the question for me of what happens if we fix this for the chamber but do not fix it for committees. Standing order 236 says:
When a committee is examining witnesses, visitors may be admitted, but shall be excluded at the request of any member, or at the discretion of the Presiding Member of the committee, and shall always be excluded when the committee is deliberating.
That, I believe, is the standing order that we need to fix in relation to breastfeeding mothers. The visitor that is with them could be asked to be excluded by any member, which would reconfirm the discrimination that breastfeeding mothers face. Administration and Procedure, if they had had the opportunity to examine this change to standing orders, would have found that and would have been able to move an amendment to both of these standing orders at the same time and not have this confusion.
I also believe that Administration and Procedure, when examining the need to have breastfeeding mother friendly workplaces and family friendly workplaces in this building, would have discovered that there are no change room facilities in this