Page 1727 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 3 May 2011

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of doing things. If we were to be more like that, I suspect there could be some positive improvements in the Assembly.

They also require people to give 25 days notice of amendments. I do think 25 days notice might be a little overly legalistic and certainly a bit ambitious but possibly there is somewhere between the current standards in the Assembly and 25 days that we could go to as a possible improvement on our practice.

The other thing I would like to mention, just from a legislative point of view, was questions. I was going to say questions on notice but there is sort of a combination. What they do there is they do not ask questions without notice. All questions have to go to the Speaker and then, through the Speaker, they are given to the ministers. The Speaker has apparently the right of veto, which I did not think was a very good idea.

Given that the questions have been notified and there is a written reply given by the minister, the interesting thing is that there are five supplementary questions after that. So I thought that possibly we should change the timing a bit. But there is some future in that—the idea that the minister would know the topic on which the question was going to be asked but then you had the scope to ask further questions on it. I think that is a refinement on what we do at present and has some potential.

I have unfortunately only got less than two minutes left to talk about the rest of Kiribati. And it certainly deserves more than that. As people may be aware, the main island is very long and narrow. Its highest point—and we all went over this a couple of times a day—is three metres above sea level. But most of it is only two metres above sea level. And a couple of times we were in places, we were told, which in storm surges had been under water. We saw land which used to be part of the productive or residential part of Kiribati but which has now been effectively reclaimed by the sea. So climate change is certainly one of the significant issues for Kiribati.

Kiribati is in the UN’s list of the bottom 50 in terms of development index. AusAID regards it as a hardship posting. It is a coral atoll, which means that it is made up basically of sand. If you have been to Papua New Guinea, which I have, or Fiji, which are volcanic, while they are islands and they are substantial, this is basically flat. You are just above sea level.

As I have only got 20 seconds left, I will speak more in another adjournment speech about non-parliamentary, non-geographical features of Kiribati. But suffice it to say, it was a very interesting trip and I will tell you more about it next time.

Autism Asperger ACT

MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (3.26): A few weeks ago I was invited by Autism Asperger ACT to attend the 2011 Bubble Day event at Cranleigh school along with the president of the association, Mrs Gay von Ess, and other committee members.

It was a pleasure to join children and parents from the Southern Cross early childhood school and children from Cranleigh school as we celebrated Autism Awareness

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