Page 2052 - Week 06 - Thursday, 26 June 2008

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MR SMYTH: Yes, I think he should, Mr Speaker. This just confirms the arrogance of Mr Corbell. He says this should be addressed in the cognate debate. If it is good enough for the opposition to have to put their comments through the cognate debate, then surely it is good enough for the government to do the same. The arrogance and the mismanagement of the manager of government business grow daily. The way he keeps leaping up with his points of order is not in keeping with the traditions of this place. What we should have had this morning was a debate about the tabling of the estimates report and then, if we wanted, a debate about the government’s response to that report.

Mr Gentleman: You voted to debate it this afternoon.

MR SMYTH: Yes, we can also do it cognately later on this afternoon. That is when I will address issues raised, both in this report and in the estimates report, to speed up the process. It is unfortunate that the government does not apply the same standard to themselves in this place. But that is the arrogance of majority government, and I think they will learn about that folly in October.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (12.15): Mr Speaker, it is not uncommon in this place for all the matters relating to the budget debate to be dealt with together. Certainly that has been the experience of Labor in government and in opposition. It has been the practice adopted by Liberal governments that the government response to the report of the estimates committee and the Appropriation Bill itself are debated cognately. There are good reasons for that. They are all related, and on many points members will make the same point in relation to a number of those items.

The government is not adopting any double standard in this regard. Members are entitled to speak when they table a document or report. If Ms Porter had chosen to speak when tabling the report of the estimates committee, she would, of course, have been quite entitled to do so. Mr Stanhope spoke when he tabled the government response.

If the Liberal Party do not want ministers to speak when we table documents, that is fine. We will just table documents. But debate on the tabling is a matter for the cognate process that the government is proposing and which, without any further ado, we will try and move to right now.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (12.17): Is it in order for me to make some comment on the government’s response at this point?

MR SPEAKER: The report has been tabled and the question is that the report be noted. You can speak to the report.

Mr Corbell: Richard, why don’t you adjourn it and we can go to the cognate debate?

Members interjecting—

Mr Corbell: I am just suggesting that instead of doing it twice you can do it once during the cognate debate.

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