Page 992 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 15 March 2005

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That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent private members’ business being called on forthwith.

I propose that we should, as an Assembly, use the valuable time available to us. We have an hour here today. The government does not have any business for us. There is substantial business on the program that was provided last week that we were not able to get through. I presume that members are ready. There are other items of private members’ business on the notice paper that members on this side are ready to debate.

The government has said that we need to cut back on our sitting times and impose discipline. They do not have any business, but private members do. Seeing that there is no present government business, I think that we should take this opportunity to bring forward especially those matters of private members’ business that were not brought forward last week, perhaps because of the lack of discipline.

There are some substantial items that government members have here that I presume they are ready to speak to, because they were listed last week, and I think that we need to, in a sense, send a message to the government that, if they do not have enough business to occupy their time, the non-executive members of this place do.

I encourage members to suspend standing orders because there is plenty of business that we might do and, in doing so, perhaps not waste the resources of the Legislative Assembly, as the government is currently doing.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (11.33): Mr Speaker, the government will not be supporting this motion today. The reason for that is simply the desirability of members being advised in advance of when business will be brought on so that they are ready to debate that business. It is not necessarily an objection to the process itself. If Mrs Dunne wants to flag for future sittings that that is the way she would like to manage this sort of situation, the government is happy to have that discussion and agree on a way forward.

But it is a little bit of a stunt, I have to say, Mr Speaker, just to bring the matter on now when members have not been advised that this may be coming up on the agenda and are not prepared to deal with their items at this time. It is simply a matter of courtesy. If Mrs Dunne thinks that this is an approach that should be adopted for future sittings, as I have indicated, the government is quite willing now to take that approach. But it is a matter of courtesy to members that they are aware when business is coming on so that they are ready to deal with it in a considered way. It is nothing more and nothing less than that.

Any assertion that in some way the government is wasting the time of the Assembly is simply wrong. The government is very efficiently and effectively dealing with its business. We have been able to progress a range of bills in a very timely way since the Assembly first met following the election. We are doing it in an efficient way of getting the business done. We are moving through the program and will continue to do that. We are happy to take the approach suggested by Mrs Dunne if members are aware that that is what is going occur. It is nothing more and nothing less than. But to spring it on

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