Page 3456 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 17 August 2011

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achievement. So to Jacob: well done—and also to Her Excellency Mrs Sujatha Singh, the High Commissioner of India, who was also there. I was very impressed with the way she spoke. I was very impressed with not just her knowledge but also her good humour, how personable she was in the way she spoke and how she had the ability to speak afterwards. So well done to the Indian community; well done to FINACT; well done to all of those who contributed to that launch and to that organisation being established.

We cannot let it go by, Mr Speaker, without mentioning the disgraceful way that today’s business has been handled by the Labor Party and the Greens. We have a situation where the Liberal Party has been denied a slot in private members’ day—the ability to even debate our slot—simply because the Labor Party and the Greens are not ready, despite the fact that we have had the prerequisite time. In fact, there have been many weeks since Mrs Dunne’s legislation was introduced. There has been ample time for members to consider it—more than the usual time that is allowed. We have been very accommodating with other pieces of legislation, including Greens legislation just recently which we allowed to be debated within a couple of days of its being introduced.

For Labor and the Greens to arbitrarily take away our ability to debate important sentencing legislation which has been put forward by Mrs Dunne I think is disgraceful. It is our right to have those slots. For that legislation not to be debated today is very disappointing. We have also seen debates gagged. We have seen two debates gagged tonight. We have seen the Labor Party giving different messages, saying that we are going to finish at 7 o’clock and then we will go on and that we will gag debate. There has to be some certainty in how we do things. We should go until we finish. We should not be gagging debate and we should not be denying parties slots.

We can disagree on all the motions we like. We can vote however we like in the end, but we should be able to have the debates and we should be able to have the debates in their entirety without them being gagged arbitrarily because the Labor Party and the Greens happen to be in a hurry at any given time. We should be able to have those debates fully. The way in which a couple of things have been handled today is very disappointing. If that sort of thing continues then this place can degenerate very quickly. (Time expired.)

Assembly business

MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (7.34): I am just going to have to respond to what Mr Seselja said. I am not quite sure what he is talking about when he says that the Greens and Labor denied Mrs Dunne a slot. I am not sure if he is referring to the proceedings of the administration and procedures committee. In fact, the Greens supported Mrs Dunne and the Liberals to have that legislation listed on the notice paper, which is why it was listed today. I have no idea what you are talking about, Mr Seselja. If that is the case then—

Mr Seselja: We’re shutting down the Assembly. We have not had a chance—

MR SPEAKER: Order! Ms Bresnan has the floor. You have had your say, Mr Seselja, thank you.

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