Page 239 - Week 01 - Thursday, 9 December 2004

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About eight private members’ matters have been listed for the Assembly and we have done about one and a half of them. Here we have a chance at least to get into another important matter. The issue is important for three individuals. It has been around for quite some time. The issue is one of which a number of members, especially Mrs Dunne and Mr Corbell, would have a good knowledge and the discussion of it would be a very efficient use of the more limited time that we now have for these matters.

We are at the start of a new Assembly. We do not have a huge amount of business listed for today, which is quite understandable. Let’s make use of the time that we do have to discuss business which has been before the house since yesterday and which, surely, the government should not have too much difficulty in debating.

Mr Corbell: Why should Mrs Dunne have priority over Dr Foskey or one of the other members?

MR STEFANIAK: That is another question. Move such a motion. Indeed, Mr Gentleman is part heard.

Mr Smyth: We are disciplined.

MR STEFANIAK: Yes. I am glad the question of discipline has been raised. Ms MacDonald, who is the new government whip, has been interjecting for the last two days about discipline.

Mrs Dunne: Does that go with bondage?

MR STEFANIAK: I don’t know. You might get a nickname there, Ms MacDonald, if you keep that up. But the point about the need for discipline is not a bad one, the need to ensure that you speak to the point and do so within the timeframes allocated. We now have a timeframe for this place of 6 o’clock. If members opposite accede to this motion they will be showing that they are prepared to put their money where their mouth is, that they are prepared to be disciplined, to be efficient, to utilise the time. I would hope, as I said earlier, that they are actually prepared for Mrs Dunne’s motion. It would be dreadful if they were not, but I cannot imagine that they would not be. It would indeed be showing discipline to use the time available.

Finally, speaking in terms of precedent, I seem to recall that under the first Carnell government—there might have been an earlier precedent in the First Assembly or the Second Assembly, but you would know better than I in relation to the Second Assembly, Mr Speaker—there was an instance where private members’ business was brought on when there was a gap in time. I am not sure whether that was opposed at the time. In fact, there might have been general agreement to it.

Mrs Dunne: We did it in the last Assembly. We did it on this matter.

MR STEFANIAK: Yes. It has been done before and it is a very sensible utilisation of time. I commend Mrs Dunne’s proposal to the Assembly. If the government wants to insist on Mr Gentleman going ahead, she may well accede to that. But let’s use the time properly; let’s show discipline.

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