Page 55 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 9 December 2008

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As I said, the Liberal opposition supports these changes. I have a word of caution. We welcome the extra sitting hour every day. I am a little concerned, but not sufficiently concerned at this stage to move an amendment, about the bringing forward of question time to 2 pm. For members who are not used to this place, we do not actually go out and have a two-hour lunch, but most members on a sitting day find it difficult to do all the work that is required of them and grab a sandwich on the run. I think that the cutting back of the lunch break to an hour and a half will make it difficult for members of the Secretariat, for members of the media as well as for members of the Assembly to do the things that are required of them in the lunch break on a sitting day.

I just put a pin in that because I suggest that, while we welcome an extra hour, it might be easier in the long run to add that to the end of the day rather than cut into the lunch break. We will keep a watching brief on that.

Apart from that, the only other reservation that the opposition had was the short time frame for dealing with MPIs that was proposed in the original draft. I spoke to the Clerk about this and he assured me that the blue would go out at the usual time and that a supplementary blue would be issued if a matter of public importance arose on that day. I think, in the spirit of environmental awareness, one blue would suffice and it does allow for better planning of the day for those parties who are not cognisant of what the MPI might be. I think that it allows for better planning of the day.

Generally speaking, I think that this will be an improvement and I look forward to the interpretation of what “directly relevant” will mean and the impact that that will have on question time.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (12.09), in reply: I thank members for their support and I welcome their endorsement of these proposed changes. There will of course be a need to see how they work in practice. As with any changes to the standing and temporary orders, it will be necessary to make a judgement as to whether or not the changes that have been put in place are actually achieving the effect that members were seeking. Obviously if that is not the case, there is the opportunity for members and the Assembly overall to revisit that.

I should draw to member’s attention that the proposed changes are to the temporary orders of the Assembly. These are temporary orders for the duration of this term and they will automatically expire at the end of this term. I think that allows us some flexibility in determining their effectiveness or otherwise and, indeed, for future Assemblies to decide whether or not they should explicitly adopt them, moving forward. I commend the motion.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Development Application (Block 20 Section 23 Hume) Assessment Facilitation Bill 2008

Mr Stanhope, by leave, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

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