Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 December 2008) . . Page.. 264 ..
Legislative Assembly—ministerial statements
Legislative Assembly—inaugural speeches
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (6.05): I will first address the matter raised by Mr Corbell before I go to the matter which I was going to address. The view of the Liberal Party for a long time—and Mr Corbell is aware of this, because I raised this with him at the beginning of the Sixth Assembly—has been that the practice that has been undertaken in the House of Representatives and in the Senate for a long time should be adopted in this place. I raised this matter again with Mr Corbell at the government business meeting last week. He said he would get back to me on the subject. I raised this matter again with Mr Corbell’s office on Tuesday morning and my office got a reply back quite late in the piece.
Yesterday, we gave leave and, in doing so, Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth both spoke about the Liberal Party’s approach to ministerial statements. As a result, the Liberal Party’s approach to ministerial statements, which will stand, is simply this: if the Leader of the Opposition or the appropriate shadow minister does not receive a copy of the statement within a reasonable time, under an embargo which will be honoured, as it would always be, we will not provide leave. Ministers are free to seek to suspend standing orders.
Mr Barr: What’s a “reasonable time”?
MRS DUNNE: We have said two hours. If Mr Corbell has not transmitted that to you, that is a failure on Mr Corbell’s part. That is our position and it has been the position for at least four years, to my knowledge, and we are sticking to it.
We gave leave yesterday so that it was absolutely clear to every minister what our position was. Mr Corbell and Mr Hargreaves had the capacity to come to the Leader of the Opposition and say, “This is what we are going to say in two hours time.” It would have been on an embargo basis, and that would have been honoured. They failed to do so and they did not get leave. They could have sought to suspend standing orders but they did not. And that will be the case from now on. If there is no information ahead of time, no copy ahead of time, there will not be leave for ministerial statements.
It is interesting to note the inaugural speeches that we have heard in the last little while. There have been some highlights, of course. There was a certain notoriety, which is to be expected from the Labor Party, with people smacking members around for having the temerity to express their views on their beliefs. It was interesting to see how people went scurrying off to the media to put a particular spin on the comments made by some members in this place yesterday when expressing their beliefs.
There were other things that we heard most people talk about at great length. People talked about accountability. I really did appreciate Ms Le Couteur’s presentation on greenhouse issues and how we should be more committed to addressing these issues, and it segued very nicely into the reintroduction of our greenhouse targets bill later in the day. But there was a lot of emphasis on hard work. People talked about how hard they are going to work in this Assembly. In addition to being accountable, we are