Page 1331 - Week 04 - Thursday, 10 April 2008

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We have a process. The process is that the MPI comes on next and I would suggest that that is what we move to now, Mr Speaker. The government have brought this on themselves because they have ruined the day through their attempts to gain control of the estimates committee. That is their will. But, if they want to do that, it does not mean that we have to go along with it. I think it is very important that we stick with the routine as laid out. A lot of effort on this side of the house has gone into putting speeches together for the MPI and I think it is relevant at this stage to go straight to the MPI.

If the government want to work, we are quite happy to work tonight. We can do the whole paper if they want. But this government have proven themselves not capable of or not interested in doing a full day’s work. I am quite happy to come back tonight; I am sure other members here are. There are important bills on the paper. If the government are going to pick and choose what they want to do, that is their prerogative, but it does not mean that we have to go along with it. Mr Speaker, we will be opposing the suspension of standing orders.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (5.07): I just wanted to add one thing: the reason we did not bring on the MPI straight after question time was because, as I was coming to question time, Mr Corbell asked me if we could push the MPI back and bring forward the motion in relation to the estimates committee. I agreed to that. That was what we agreed to, and Mr Corbell has gone back on what he has agreed to. He made a request of us; we agreed to it; we had the debate, and now MPIs should be coming on. Mr Corbell should stick to what he said to me in the chamber before question time when we agreed to the estimates process being brought forward. That was the agreement we had.

If Mr Corbell cannot stick to his agreements, then it is going to make it very difficult to operate in this place. That is why the MPIs should come on. The MPI would have come on straight after question time, but, after Mr Corbell made a request to us, we believed that the estimates committee debate should be brought forward. We should now have the debate on the MPI.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.08): I certainly do not want to hold the house up for long, because I also think the MPIs should be brought on. I did not know about the arrangement between Mr Seselja and the government, but I think that was an arrangement that should be honoured. I was not myself consulted. I had been told all afternoon what is going on. I am a member who would be happy to sit late at times. It would be handy to have been forewarned, but we could tell by the day’s business that we were not going to get through all that. Some of that is really important—the human rights community is asking me when we are going to debate the human rights audit and the government’s response. Not today, although it is on the paper today.

Mr Stanhope: You had all day yesterday.

DR FOSKEY: Thank you very much, Mr Stanhope, for that advice, but it is on the paper today as an order of the day. We are not going to get to it again, and I just think it is a cavalier way of running business. I object to it very, very strongly. If we are going to have agreements between people, let us honour them, please.

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