Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 17 March 2005) . . Page.. 1207 ..
That the resolution of the Assembly of 9 December 2004 relating to the sitting pattern for 2005 be amended by omitting Friday, 18 March 2005.
Mr Deputy Speaker, the government indicated at the beginning of this Assembly that we would want to see an additional sitting morning on Fridays. Given that the legislative program is only now starting to roll and ramp up through the Assembly and given the timeliness with which we have been able to get through business to date, the government is not proposing that the Assembly sit tomorrow. This motion addresses that.
However, I should signal to members that we do anticipate that the program will be well enough developed, with a sufficient range of legislation for debate and for consideration by all members, for subsequent second Fridays to be a regular occurrence. However, as this is the first time that we have hit this point, and given that a fairly substantial bank of legislation has only now been introduced into the Assembly, we would anticipate not utilising a Friday sitting morning until the one that is next scheduled on the sitting calendar.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (5.08): There is a real question as to why we are not busy and why we do not need to be sitting tomorrow. We were told that there was no longer a need to have an evening session in the sitting weeks. We were told that the government had a busy agenda and we were told that, as a consequence, we would need to put aside every other Friday morning, as it were, after a sitting fortnight to discuss the government’s business.
Mr Deputy Speaker, I would simply put it to you that, rather than Mr Corbell’s excuse that it was by timeliness that we got through the debate so quickly, in reality there was just nothing to debate. There were two bills on the government’s agenda on Tuesday, and there are two bills on the agenda today. We will clearly get through today’s agenda as well.
The problem is that we have simply got a lazy government. They are not doing the work. Last week we were warned that in government business possibly 15 bills would be introduced into the Assembly today. We were then told that it was cut down to eight. Then we were told that it was cut back to six. There is this inability of the government to do its own work, which actually includes the work of the Assembly.
I am happy to put a proposition to the minister. They objected on Tuesday, when we did not want to break for lunch—I think we broke for brunch, because we knocked off at about 11:30—and we on this side proposed that private members’ business should be brought on. Given that we have got a morning scheduled for tomorrow—I am sure that none of us has anything in our diaries in anticipation of the heavy workload that the government was going to plough through—if the government has not got any work to do tomorrow, they might like to consider letting private members, who seem to be far more organised and have far more notices on the paper than the government does, do some of our work. We would be happy to do it.
Mr Corbell said we needed to give them warning. Here is a warning, Mr Corbell—in plenty of time—that we might do it tomorrow. If you are really concerned about getting