Page 4017 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 20 September 2011

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Mrs Dunne interjecting—

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Mr Smyth! Mrs Dunne! Minister! If I have to stand, I will. The motion before—

Members interjecting—

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: I will not speak again. I am in a mood. I will not speak again. The motion before the house is that standing orders be suspended for such period as would prevent Mr Smyth from addressing the statement.

MR SMYTH: Mr Assistant Speaker, it has always been the practice of this place that when a statement or a report is tabled on behalf of a committee, the members of that committee have an opportunity to address the statement or the report. In the case of a report, there is a motion, and it flows naturally as a matter of course. In regard to statements, given that the chair is speaking on behalf of the committee, members have often sought leave. I cannot recall an occasion when somebody has been denied leave in this way to speak to a statement. Perhaps it is more about the petulance of the manager of government business than about the statement or what might occur.

It is important that when committees make a statement—this is an important issue; it is a $432 million issue—somebody should have the opportunity to speak to it. I seek the leave of the house to speak to the statement.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (11.06): I would have to largely agree with Mr Smyth’s statements. It is normal practice in this house to let members of committees speak on committee business. I see no reason why Mr Smyth should not be allowed to speak on the committee’s business.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.06): The point of the standing order utilised by Ms Le Couteur is for Ms Le Couteur, on behalf of the committee, to make a statement to the Assembly. It is not the point of the standing order to allow every other member of the committee to make a statement.

I have to say that there is a bit of a double standard emerging in this place. When it comes to the government, every statement made by a minister is increasingly being required in advance, in writing; yet we have members of the opposition and members of the crossbench standing up and not just making short statements but making prepared speeches on matters where no advance notice has been given, where no advance copy of the speech has been given. We have just had Mr Doszpot, with leave, make a prepared speech that went for 10 minutes on a matter. There was no advance notice of that speech given to any other member of this place. Yet ministers are being asked by this place to jump through hoops repeatedly—

Mrs Dunne interjecting—

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, that will do.

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