Page 4913 - Week 13 - Thursday, 12 November 2009
and the school community and ensure the best possible outcomes for the suspended student to be reintegrated into the school community. These guidelines are part of this new bill that we would like to see proceed and at least be given the opportunity to be debated again.
Suspension of standing orders today is the way to do this. The Education Amendment Bill 2009 (No 2) is an important bill and one that we, the opposition, felt should not be ignored and left for introduction at a later date next year. It is important to be able to debate this bill before the end of the year and give principals that extra autonomy and the power to make decisions as they see fit by the time the 2010 school year is upon us.
Standing orders must be suspended—must and can be suspended—to do this. This Assembly has the power to make this decision here and now and over the next few weeks. I would ask for the government and our ACT Greens colleagues to reconsider their position. The first step is to suspend standing orders on this issue to enable a constructive debate to be held in this Assembly. I urge my colleagues to allow this debate to proceed and to allow suspension of standing orders in order to do so.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10:08): Mr Speaker, this is an unusual step by the Liberal Party today and not a regular one in this place. The government will not be supporting the motion to suspend standing orders so as to allow this bill to remain on the notice paper. Standing order 136 is there for good reason. It is there to ensure that the Assembly does not have to consider again and again and again matters which have already been put to it on which a conclusion has been reached.
I appreciate that in this instance the conclusion that was reached was not to the satisfaction of Mr Doszpot and that is why he has sought to reintroduce his bill. But the point is that we have had this debate. We have had the debate in detail and it is quite clear what the position is of each party in this place on the particular matter. The question really is: does it warrant having the debate again? Is anything going to change or has each party stated its position clearly and really there is no progressing from that point?
I think it is the case that in these circumstances each party has put its position quite clearly. The proposition that Mr Doszpot has put to the Assembly in his bill he has already had the chance to put to the Assembly in an amendment to the previous bill, which has been defeated in this place. So the question that Mr Doszpot is proposing in his new bill has already been put to the Assembly. The issue of 20 days versus 10—that debate has been had.
I think if we embark on a course of action that says, “We are not happy with the outcome of that; we want to suspend standing orders and we want to bring this debate back on again,” I think sets a precedent that the government would be uncomfortable with. What it would simply mean is that every time a member was unhappy with the outcome of a debate in a particular calendar year they would seek to have that debate revisited. The standing order is there for a good reason. We believe that we should