Page 113 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 7 December 2004

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Mrs Dunne has made the comment that we are seeing for the first time in this place a member being gagged. What the government wants to do is enforce some discipline. When the motion was put up earlier in the year, in the Fifth Assembly, Mr Cornwell, a member of the opposition, was in agreement with this government that if anybody up on the hill or in another parliament attempted to seek leave to speak again or seek leave for an extension of time they would be laughed out of the place. The fact of the matter is that this is an ill disciplined opposition. That is what we are talking about.

It is about the opposition not being able to speak within the time limits, as they are put up. It is about you not being able to decide, “Oh, well, I’m going to seek leave to speak again because I didn’t like what you said about what I said the first time so I’m going to get up and say exactly the same thing again.” That is right; we do not agree to that. We want some discipline in this place. We want to speak within time limits and we want to be fair not just to our families but to the families of the people who work in this place, not just in our offices but also in the secretariat; and, yes, we want to be kind to ourselves and make sure that we actually focus on what is being said and that what is being said makes sense. Half the time, a lot of the things that get said a second time around make absolutely no sense at all and nobody, absolutely nobody, is listening to what you are saying.

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (5.32): I am wondering why we are all here. Several times today I have heard Ms MacDonald contradict herself. Nobody is debating the fact. I think Mr Quinlan raised some good points: “nobody wants people going over and over the same thing.” Sorry, that is why we are here. Each of us in this place got elected to make a stand for our communities that we represent. We are here to have our voices heard. You do not like it, do you? You have got majority government now and you are still not satisfied. You want us to shut up and sit down, as Mr Quinlan has told me many times.

Ms Gallagher: Make sense.

MRS BURKE: Sorry, you are the most authoritative person in this place. I see: “disciplined approach; waste of time; he said/she said”. Mr Quinlan, you are right. I agree. But it should not stop us in this democratic place from standing up to have our say and putting our point forward, despite the fact that you do not like it. You do not particularly like being in here. I cannot help that.

Mr Quinlan: It’s boring.

MRS BURKE: Sorry, you’re boring?

Mr Quinlan: It’s not her fault; it’s boring.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Quinlan!

MRS BURKE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. That brings me to the point of why we are here. We are not nine-to-fivers and nobody is saying that we should stay here until the early hours of every sitting day. We sit three days a week for 14 weeks a year. Come on, what are we—men or mice? We already have a really bad reputation in the community. They

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