Page 107 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 7 December 2004

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taken the view that it is important that we have a clear and firm conclusion time for each sitting day. It is particularly important in the context of those members who have responsibilities for younger children and who, in the past, have had to juggle a range of childcare and other care responsibilities for what is often an extremely variable finishing time for the Assembly.

The government proposes that the adjournment of the Assembly now take place at 6.00 pm on each sitting Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and at 12.30 pm on each sitting Friday. This change would result in the Speaker’s proposing the question that “the Assembly do now adjourn” at 6.00 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays rather than at 5.00 pm, which is currently the case. And I note, Mr Speaker, that we have not done it today.

The purpose of the change is to ensure that there is a more sensible time for the adjournment, because the adjournment at 5.00 pm, in my experience, has almost always been negatived. This change, allowing for a later adjournment, reflects, I think, a more reasonable adjournment time to be considered by the Assembly. The other change to standing orders provides for the Assembly to meet on a Friday. Currently, standing orders do not permit the Assembly to meet on Fridays.

As members will be aware, the government has proposed that every second sitting Friday the Assembly shall meet for the morning to have additional time to deal with executive business. This is to allow business to be dealt with in a more orderly and streamlined way across the sitting calendar, rather than have a significant build-up towards the end of each year, which almost invariably results in late night sessions. It also accommodates the change to the adjournment, to occur at 6.00 pm on each sitting day other than a Friday. This proposal provides for the more orderly process of business in this place. And, importantly, it also provides certainty for members planning other responsibilities into the evening.

At 5.06 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.

MR CORBELL: In conclusion, the proposed changes to the standing orders facilitate a more conclusive and definitive finishing time for the Assembly on each sitting Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, as well as making allowance for the Friday sitting of every second week to deal with executive business. This increases the number of calendar days set aside for sittings, and we will be increasing the periods of time that the Assembly sits. I urge members to support the motion.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.08): I wish to support the motion because the Greens’ workplace and employment policies advocate family friendly work practices. Consequently, I am pleased to support a family friendly approach to the scheduling of sitting days. It is important that we here at the Assembly stick to family friendly work practices and it is also important that the government ensure that other agencies and funds can take a similar approach.

The whole idea of family friendly hours is contradicted by the working reality for the many people who are closer to the minimum wage end of our flexible work force than

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