Page 993 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 15 March 2005

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members is discourteous and not appropriate, and today the government will not be supporting this approach.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (11.35): Mr Speaker, it is quite clear that the government is not interested in dealing with not only their own private members’ business but that of non-government members. It is interesting to see Mr Corbell’s approach. I would be quite embarrassed if I had delivered the speech that Mr Corbell has just delivered, because we actually approached the government last week and gave them notice and gave them warning that we would like to bring on private members’ business. Mrs Dunne raised this. The government has decided that it was not interested. That is simply the point: the government is not interested. So members were aware. We tried that approach last week; we tried to make members aware, Mr Corbell, and your government shut down the debate.

Mr Corbell says that it is a discourtesy. If it is a discourtesy, it was a discourtesy last week not to take the opportunity to use time available to the Assembly for the good of the public. I assume members’ notices are put on the notice paper because they are worthy of consideration and that they are urgent and should be discussed at some time. But because of the way this government operates and the lack of time that we now have on private members’ day to actually get through a solid agenda, it has been nobbled by the government.

So I think it is quite appropriate. There are still 55 minutes of the morning session, Mr Speaker, during which we could discuss these issues. If the government is not ready, we are quite happy to get one of our members to bring on one of their notices. We are quite willing to move ahead. But it highlights the lack of an agenda that this government has. Mr Corbell uses “timely”, “considered” and “we are progressing though our work”. Here we are again; it is 11.30; and the government work for the day is over. This is a part-time government, a go-home-early government, a government with no drive and a government with no agenda. I think it is more than appropriate to bring on private members’ business at this time.

Motion (by Mr Corbell) proposed:

That the question be now put.

MR SPEAKER: There is no indication that the crossbencher, Dr Foskey, wishes to contribute to the debate. I am not prepared to accept the motion if Dr Foskey is prepared to speak to the matter.

Mr Mulcahy: Mr Speaker, I was on my feet also.

MR SPEAKER: I am prepared to accept the motion if everybody has had a chance to speak to the question. I am prepared to recognise Dr Foskey at this point.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.38): Mr Speaker, while this proposal that we suspend standing orders to discuss private members’ business is a surprise to me, I support the proposal. I do, however, feel that it would have been rather good, as it is often, to have been consulted. We need to now, I believe, do whatever is required to have a situation where, when government business has ended—especially an hour before lunch and in

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