Page 624 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 9 March 2011

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coming back and perhaps their motions will be far more difficult to debate in a meaningful way as we go forward.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (3.44): I am not quite sure what the high dudgeon is all about, Madam Assistant Speaker. Mr Hargreaves was not ready for a debate. It happens from time to time. Members get caught short.

I remember seeing yourself, Madam Assistant Speaker, in full sail, rushing to your seat to pick up on a debate. It happens, Madam Assistant Speaker. Mr Hargreaves has asked for the indulgence of the chamber for a very brief period—in fact, less than five minutes—to make sure that he is ready for a debate that has come on more quickly than he expected. But it happens, Madam Assistant Speaker; it happens.

On the issue of the adjournment, on the criticism of Mr Seselja that the Auditor-General bill was adjourned, well, it happens, Madam Assistant Speaker. In fact, there are numerous government bills that have been adjourned because non-government parties have not been ready to debate them. It happens, Madam Assistant Speaker. Mr Seselja can seek to characterise it any other way he likes, but it happens. It is part of the function of a chamber where no single party has a majority. I think we should just take a calm breath and get on with the business of the day.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (3.45): This comes as quite a shock to me. My office has been talking to the Greens for some time about doing the Auditor-General’s bill today. I know it was their preference not to have a debate today. They saw it as a larger issue and wanted to include some of the reforms that may or may not come from admin and procedures in regard to the public accounts committee report.

I have just checked with my office, and at no time was my office told that this would be adjourned today. That is just a basic courtesy. If you think that because you have got the numbers you can do whatever you want, well go for your life—that is true. You have got the numbers and you can do whatever you like, but when basic courtesy goes out the window there are consequences for all of us here.

If the chamber is going to work with even a narrow measure of politeness and courtesy then it is quite up to everybody to make sure that they are quite clear in their intentions. At no time in my discussions with members of the Greens were the words “adjourn this bill today” used. At no time in any of the discussions with my office was the word “adjourn” used.

I asked my office to email and ring the Greens on a number of occasions yesterday and again this morning, and we got no responses. I understand the Greens came around after my office was closed last night. I apologise. I went to three functions last night. I did have to leave the building at some stage. But at no time was I told that this would occur today. That basic lack of courtesy does not engender a whole lot of confidence in the process that might go on in this place in the future.

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (3.47): I have to say that, in fact, Mr Smyth was told this morning in this chamber by one of my

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