Page 1332 - Week 04 - Thursday, 10 April 2008

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MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (5.10): I agree with the sentiment from Dr Foskey to the extent that things ought to be honoured, but the fact is that we have not been consulted on any arrangement that was made; I heard about it second hand from Dr Foskey. I am happy to sit here tonight as late as we have to. The matter will be discussed, as I understand. That is what I have been advised by the government whip. For that reason, I am happy to see us proceed to deal with those executive business items and then we can discuss the MPI. If we have got to go until 8 or 9 o’clock, that is of no concern or problem to me.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (5.10): Mr Speaker, the reason the government is moving this motion at this time is because of the deliberate obstruction of the Liberal Party when it comes to dealing with the issue of the composition of the estimates committee. The Liberal Party sought to agitate the same question on about five separate occasions during the course of that debate. They cannot suggest in any respect that they did not have the opportunity to put their view about the composition of the committee nor, indeed, the chair of the committee. They had that opportunity on multiple occasions. It is when they chose to reagitate the debate frequently and repeatedly at every moment that the government took the decision that the Liberal Party was seeking to deliberately obstruct the business of the Assembly.

Today is the day allocated to executive business—one of only two days during any sitting week when executive business is able to be debated. It is now 10 past 5, this Assembly having sat since 10.30 am this morning. The government has introduced three bills, but no other executive business has been dealt with because of the obstruction of the Liberal Party in the course of the debate this afternoon.

Members interjecting—

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I know they do not like it, but it is the plain fact of the matter. No undertaking has been broken. It was quite clear that we would have been able to proceed with the MPI in a timely manner if those opposite had not deliberately obstructed and sought to slow down the business of this house.

Mrs Burke: Come back tomorrow then. Tomorrow. Come back tomorrow.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mrs Burke, you are still on a warning, remember.

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, the government has decided that, after the significant obstruction by those opposite, it is necessary to call on executive business at this time so that this urgent bill is debated forthwith. The government signalled at the beginning of this sitting week that this bill needed to be debated, and the government now wishes to bring the bill on for debate on a day which is meant to be allocated for executive business.

Question put:

That the standing orders be suspended.

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