Page 1348 - Week 04 - Thursday, 10 April 2008

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The other point that is worth making in relation to the discussion and debates this afternoon is that the government has always, during the course of this term, sought to permit a reasonable level of debate on all issues, including those matters which are contentious. It is also true to say that the government has not always sought to maintain a majority on committees. Indeed, for at least one of the estimates committees that this Assembly has formed as a select committee to look into the budget, the government has deliberately chosen not to take a majority on that committee.

There is, of course, the issue of the application of the standing order in relation to proportional representation on committees of members and their political affiliations in this place. And it is by no stretch of the imagination an unreasonable argument to say that, in an Assembly where nine of the 17 members are members of the Labor Party, that can translate into a membership on any committee of three government, two opposition and one crossbench. That should also be held in regard by members.

Finally, I found it very amusing that, following this terrible debate about how the government is abusing its majority and majority committees never achieve anything, Mr Pratt commended a majority Labor committee for the report introduced on restorative justice.

Estimates 2008-2009—Select Committee

MR SESELJA (Molonglo––Leader of the Opposition) (6.18): I do have to respond to what Mr Corbell has just said. I was roused out of my chair when he claimed in his speech just then that there were no substantive issues that were not allowed to be discussed, when he knows clearly that I had circulated an amendment—and it was relevant—as soon as it could be circulated.

Mr Corbell: You did exactly the same thing as your previous speaker.

MR SESELJA: Mr Corbell interjects and he is wrong again. The situation changed when a crossbench extraordinarily excluded themselves from the situation. That is something that none of us had anticipated. We anticipated the government did not want to be scrutinised—we are used to that—but what we saw today was that the crossbench is prepared to assist them in that process; that they are prepared to assist them in not being scrutinised.

That was the extraordinary thing that came from today; that was the thing that changed; and that was the thing we did not get to debate because my amendment, which was circulated to Mr Corbell and other members, would have—given that the crossbench had pulled out of the process—replaced a crossbench member with a member of the opposition.

Mr Corbell: Jacqui Burke moved exactly the same amendment.

MR SESELJA: No, she did not. Mr Corbell again is wrong.

Mr Corbell: She proposed three opposition members.

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