Page 1349 - Week 04 - Thursday, 10 April 2008

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MR SESELJA: She did not move exactly the same thing.

MR SPEAKER: Can we quit the discussion across the floor, please.

MR SESELJA: We had a substantive amendment and it was not able to be debated. It was reasonable that we have that debate. If the government was prepared for there to be three non-government members before, if the crossbench feel that it is no longer necessary for them to scrutinise the government, if the opposition is willing and able to take that position, why should it not have been able to. It was a reasonable thing to put. It should have been able to be debated. Mr Corbell did not allow it.

In seeking to shut down debate in the disgraceful way that he did by moving that the member be no longer heard, he actually led to a situation where we spent a lot more time on it than we otherwise would have. The tactical brilliance of Mr Corbell came to the fore once more in a cheap attempt to shut things down quickly. He was not able to do it—he failed—and he has demonstrated once again that he has not much tactical nous.

But he should not claim that every substantive issue was able to be debated, because it was not. It was reasonable. It was extraordinary and is extraordinary, and it needs to be put on the record again. It needs to be put on the record again that it is extraordinary that not only does the government not want to be scrutinised but we know the crossbench no longer wants to scrutinise them.

Youth homelessness

DR FOSKEY (6.22): In the absence of being able to present my MPI speech in the MPI period, I am going to present as much of it as I can right now. It was an important issue, and I am sorry we did not get to discuss it.

The problems identified in the National Youth Commission report are broadly similar to those reported in the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission inquiry in 1989. Significantly, although since that inquiry the Australian economy has improved substantially, there are more homeless young people. The ACT is seen to be pretty poor when it comes to youth homelessness, partly because of the extremely tight private rental market, tightened eligibility requirements for public housing and lack of emergency housing.

The vacancy rate in the ACT dropped to 1.7 per cent in mid 2007 and it is thought to have got worse. Some speculate it may now be as low as one per cent. Higher than average incomes in the ACT distort our measures of affordability, and the use of the average is not appropriate in the ACT. Affordability measures need to be broken down further, perhaps by age and income brackets. In 2007, services highlighted the need to make improved special provision for children in SAAP services.

Breaking the cycle recognises that many of the children entering SAAP services have experienced trauma, violence, insecure accommodation or are suffering from the effects of situational factors such as drug and alcohol issues, gambling and mental

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