Page 4595 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 November 2005
MR GENTLEMAN: Maybe Mr Seselja has been spoilt by his previous high-powered, senior government position. Now that you are employed to represent those in your electorate, things are different. It is time to put some effort in, Mr Seselja. As I have mentioned already, the other members of the committee have managed to find the time not only to read the report but also to engage in consultation over the recommendations. This DV was referred to the committee in May this year but Mr Seselja still feels that this was an unmanageable length of time to consider the report.
As time is such a constraint for Mr Seselja, I would like to bring to the attention of members that the only committee he is currently a member of is the planning and environment committee. Ms Porter is the Chair of the Standing Committee on Education, Training and Young People; the Deputy Chair of the Standing Committee on Health and Disability; and the Deputy Chair of the Select Committee on Working Families in the ACT; and she is also a member of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment. She is on four committees and she still has time to enter into the debate on all reports referred to those committees. I am the Chair of the Select Committee on Working Families in the ACT; the Deputy Chair of the Standing Committee on Education, Training and Young People; and, as we are all aware, Chair of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment. Not only do I have time to review the reports but often in the planning committee I also make the majority of the recommendations for discussion.
This DV was with the committee for an extended time frame—six months, in fact. Being mindful that the end of the year is fast approaching and of the fact that the committee has had numerous meetings in which to discuss this variation, we decided to table it so we could begin work on new draft variations and keep the planning process moving in a positive direction.
Mr Seselja has mentioned on several occasions that the time lines for consideration of this report were inconceivable. I would like to bring to the attention of members that there was certainly enough time for consultation. For the benefit of the opposition, I will repeat the time frame: June, July, August, September, October and November. That is six months, in my book.
I would like to thank Mrs Dunne for her blind support of her opposition colleague. I call it blind support because it is clear that Mrs Dunne has not been given all the facts. For the benefit of Mrs Dunne, I will inform the house of the committee process and Mr Seselja’s behaviour during that process. Mr Seselja has asked on numerous occasions for an extension of time to consider draft reports. The other two members of the committee do not seem to need extra time to consider reports. I agree with Mr Seselja that this report is very important, but is he implying that the other draft variations are of less importance to him than this one? I hope not.
I agree that this is an important variation. It is important for the enjoyment of our natural heritage for generations to come, as well as for them to enjoy housing in Gungahlin. I am not sure how many times Mr Seselja has asked the committee for an extension of time on a range of issues but I think it could have been as many as seven times. I am of the opinion that we granted these extensions to allow Mr Seselja extra time to consider draft reports in a collaborative way. I am sure most reasonable people would say that six