Page 266 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 10 December 2008

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I happen to know that my diary does not allow me to just stop dead in the water two hours before coming down to this chamber. But then again, I did not have six weeks off after the election. I did not go down the coast. I sat in my office and was out in my constituency and took calls and letters from Mary Porter and calls from Ms Burch. Did I hear a thing from the opposition? Nothing, diddly, absolutely sweet nothing!

Mrs Dunne says this has been their position for four years. Let me tell you, I have been in this place for nearly 11 years and Mrs Dunne has occupied a chair in this place—not one in the Assembly, necessarily—and this is the first I have ever heard of it. This is the first that she has ever said, “We want something two hours before.” It is a load of absolute poppycock.

What I wanted to do today was—certainly to put some environment around it, some context—essentially say what we were trying to do with regard to the ageing portfolio, which I am new to. I wanted to talk a little bit about that. I wanted to talk about the housing portfolio, where we are moving in terms of the national affordable housing agreement. I wanted to talk about the developments in the national disability agreement that are going forward. I wanted to talk about my responsibilities to make sure we have a safe workplace in the ACT. We are the second biggest employer in Canberra and I am aware of our responsibilities in that regard. I thought it was reasonable that this Assembly knew that.

Also it is convention that, at the beginning of any parliamentary term, the ministry lays out, and the collection of the ministry lays out, the government’s agenda going forward. That is a useful process and the detailed ministerial statements later on are where in fact we can drill down much more heavily into detail. I think we will be able to do that.

But let me tell you, the new-look Assembly, based on trust and mutual respect reflected in the agreements, is clearly not being embraced in its intent, its philosophy, by the old guard across the chamber. I make this appeal to the new guard: change them, get rid of them. I present the following paper:

Ministerial statement—Portfolio responsibilities—Mr Hargreaves.

It is in the hands of the attendants at the moment. (Time expired.)

Legislative Assembly—ministerial statements

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (6.15): It is interesting that this afternoon we have heard some discussion on ministerial statements. Yesterday Mr Smyth had out the House of Representatives Practice and was talking about what happened at Parliament House, at the federal parliament. And it seems to be the practice that ministerial statements go out earlier so that there is time to be able to look at them and respond in a considered way.

The Greens do have some sympathy with this position and we certainly would like to explore it. But I do think there are a number of issues that do need to be teased out here. The first is the issue of trust that has just been raised, that if there is an embargo it does need to be respected.

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