Page 4914 - Week 13 - Thursday, 12 November 2009

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respect the intent of that standing order and not allow the standing orders to be suspended on this occasion.

I would note in closing that, of course, the standing order does not prevent the matter from being dealt with next year. That probably is a sensible provision in that I think the framers of the standing orders recognised that the lapse of that period of time would allow all parties where there was not agreement on a particular matter to reflect on their position, to reflect on the issues at hand, and after a reasonable period of time come back and potentially consider the question again.

For all of those reasons, Mr Speaker, I think this is the most appropriate course of action and Mr Doszpot’s proposal is not one that we can therefore support.

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (10.11): The Greens will not be supporting the Liberal Party’s request to suspend standing orders so that Mr Doszpot’s motion can remain on the notice paper for this calendar year. The Greens accept and respect the ruling of the Speaker and the processes of the Assembly. The standing orders of the Assembly are there for a reason and they serve the members and wider community in upholding democratic processes. They work well for the whole, but not always in the favour of a few at a select time.

Standing order 136 allows the Speaker to disallow any motion or amendment which is the same in substance as any question which, during the calendar year, has been resolved. This standing order is in place because it does not serve the community if the Assembly is debating week after sitting week bills of almost identical substance. The Assembly exists to represent all of the people of Canberra equally and fully cover all aspects of the legislation required to govern the ACT.

It is the Greens’ understanding from the Speaker’s ruling that the bill tabled in the house by the government and debated approximately three weeks ago is too similar in substance to Mr Doszpot’s amendment. The Greens will respect this decision. Therefore, Mr Doszpot can utilise the standing orders of the house and he can bring his amendment back in the new year.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (10.13): This is really a matter of the will of the Assembly, and it has become quite clear that the will of the government is that they do not want to touch this motion at this stage. The minister is letting politics get in the way of what is good for the people of the ACT in the administration of their schools. Mr Doszpot has amply outlined why we should be revisiting this issue here to create, as he has said, intra-jurisdictional parity and parity with other jurisdictions for ACT government school principals. This is something that the principals want. It is quite clear from their published statements that this is something that they asked for from the government and that what they received from the government was less than they asked for.

What we have spoken about in the previous debate and what Mr Doszpot has spoken about today is wanting to give autonomy to principals. The fact that the minister is letting politics get in the way of this procedural matter shows that he does not trust ACT government school principals to exercise their responsibilities in relation to

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