Page 96 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 9 December 2008

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statements following Question Time and the presentation of documents on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. However, Ministers may make statements at other times as well—in all cases leave is required. Leave is also required for a Member to make a statement when presenting a committee or delegation report outside the period set aside for that purpose on Mondays.

And here is the important bit:

In the case of a ministerial statement, it is usual for a copy of the proposed statement to be supplied to the Leader of the Opposition or the appropriate shadow minister some minimum time before the statement is made. At the conclusion of the Minister’s speech, he or she may present a copy of the statement and a motion ‘That the House take note of the document’ may be moved. The shadow minister or opposition spokesperson may then speak to that motion, with, commonly, standing orders being suspended to permit a speaking time equal to that taken by the Minister. If a motion to take note is not moved it is usual for leave to be given for the opposition spokesperson to speak on the same subject.

That is how it is done in the federal parliament. It is probably not a bad thing to do here, simply because we often adjourn debate on papers. We ask ministers to move that we take note of papers so that the debate can be adjourned. They often go straight on the notice paper and there they sit for long periods of time, because time is short in this place because we only have a limited number of sitting days and weeks.

The theory behind this is that matters can be addressed sensibly. They can be addressed immediately and then they do not have to go on the notice paper, clogging the notice paper. I would be very keen, when we do a more thorough review of the standing orders, perhaps through admin and procedure, that they look at this whole notion of statements being provided. What it means is that we, the opposition and the crossbench, have an opportunity to join in the debate.

The government, by not giving us that notice or by just giving us the title, is not helping. If you are up to speed, if you know something about the issue or if you are aware of the report or whatever, you can jump to your feet and you can speak. But if you want a considered debate in this place it is perhaps something we should consider. It works extremely well in other places, and he or she who breaks the embargo obviously does not get embargoed copies from that point on. But it is quite possible to adopt this process in this place, and I look forward to bringing that before the Assembly some time soon.

Portfolio responsibilities

Paper and ministerial statement

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (4.06), by leave: I thank members of the Assembly. I am not sure there will be very many ministerial statements given over the next four years.

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