Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 5 August 2008) . . Page.. 2828 ..
That so much of standing orders be suspended as would prevent Mr Smyth making a statement.
These are important principles and I can understand why the government would want to shut this down. But in terms of what the committee knows about this report, it is very little. This is the report that I think undermined the community. It underlined the decisions that were made in 2006 in the shock-horror budget that it was never necessary for this place to pass. What the committee has done is exactly what committees are meant to do; they are meant to inquire. To do that, only as recently as this year—as of 6 March 2008 when it was unanimously passed—the Assembly adopted standing order 239. This standing order states that the committee shall have the power to send for persons, papers and records. It is a power that the Labor Party voted to bestow upon this committee, and it is a power that they now seek to subjugate.
What we have simply asked for is a document, an independent document that was prepared and then given to cabinet. We are not asking for the cabinet decisions. We are not asking for the minutes. It is entirely within practice. Indeed, House of Representatives Practice would actually suggest that if the documents are not forthcoming this house could authorise someone to go and search for them, to find them for the Assembly to have its own discussion on. But what we are getting now is the Deputy Chief Minister sitting there and even refusing to have the debate. The question, Deputy Chief Minister, is this: what have you got to hide?
What you are hiding? What the government is hiding, what the Chief Minister is hiding and what the cabinet is hiding is what they have hidden for two years. It is the real reasons for the panicked response of the government in 2006 in putting together their budget, which have now so comprehensively proven to be wrong. When we look, for instance, at the cuts to the business assistance program, the government has been forced to backflip. On sports grants, the government has been forced to backflip. On the cuts to tourism, the government is backflipping.
Mr Gentleman: Point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I think—
MR SMYTH: Under what standing order?
Mr Gentleman: Mr Smyth is debating a motion that is not yet before the Assembly.
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is the standing order, please, Mr Gentleman?
Mr Gentleman: I will get it for you.
MR SMYTH: Good. Yes, go and check your standing orders. Now the point here is why we should suspend, Mr Deputy Speaker—
Mr Gentleman: Mr Deputy Speaker, on the point of order—
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Are you now taking a point of order?