Page 1837 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 4 May 2011

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Islander Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (5.00): I rise simply to support the comment that Mr Corbell made in relation to this. There is an unaccepted division between the executive and the legislature. One of the areas in which that division blurs, and blurs dangerously, is for the legislature to seek through motions in this place to direct a member of the executive in the performance of his or her duties or responsibilities.

This is the fundamental principle around the separation of powers and the separation of responsibilities between the legislature and the executive. In all my time in this place whenever members of this place have moved motions seeking to direct a member of the executive there has followed a debate and a conversation and an assertion by respective members of the executive, whether it be Labor or Liberal—and I remember this debate and this conversation at times when the Liberal Party were in government—around the importance of recognising and respecting the separation of powers.

As to the roles and responsibilities of ministers, the members of the executive, vis-a-vis the legislature, this is an extremely important principle. This is a dangerous precedent for it simply to be acknowledged: “Oh well, we can direct if we feel fit. We’re the legislature. We’re all powerful. We will interfere. We will tell the executive how it is to do its business. We will tell a minister how he is to perform his duties. We are the legislature.” There is a strict division of responsibility, long acknowledged and acknowledged and respected for good reason. This amendment should not be supported.

Question put:

That Mr Smyth’s amendment be agreed to.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Ayes 9

Noes 6

Ms Bresnan

Ms Le Couteur

Mr Barr

Mr Stanhope

Mr Coe

Mr Rattenbury

Ms Burch

Mr Doszpot

Mr Seselja

Mr Corbell

Mr Hanson

Mr Smyth

Mr Hargreaves

Ms Hunter

Ms Porter

MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: The question now is that the motion, as amended, be agreed to.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.06): The subject of this motion today relates to some extremely important strategies for the future of the ACT. We have been talking about the sustainable energy policy, the weathering the change action plan 2, the sustainable waste strategy, the sustainable transport action plan and the Nature Conservation Act. These are all very important areas of policy development for future sustainability and frankly for the future of this city. As I said right at the start, the Greens are increasingly concerned about the delays that these strategies have faced.

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