Page 457 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 21 February 2012

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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Leader of the Opposition

Statement by minister

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Health and Minister for Territory and Municipal Services): I seek leave to make a statement in relation to the Leader of the Opposition’s statement of last Thursday in the Assembly.

Leave not granted.

Standing and temporary orders—suspension

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development) (10.01): I move:

That so much of the standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent Ms Gallagher (Chief Minister) from making a statement concerning the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition last week.

Mr Speaker, we are faced with highly unusual circumstances. We had a concession from the Leader of the Opposition last Thursday of a highly unusual staffing arrangement which means that a member of his staff, paid for by the taxpayer, does not have to work in the Legislative Assembly, and, further to that, we had an acknowledgement by the Leader of the Opposition that the staffing arrangements in his office have been irregular for an extended period of time.

These are serious matters, and this morning we see further revelations that the assertions made by the Leader of the Opposition in relation to the activities of his director of electorate services have not stood up to the scrutiny that he claims they should, and the Canberra Times revelations this morning make that clear. All of these circumstances demand that standing orders be suspended—

Mr Smyth: A point of order, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Smyth.

Mr Smyth: The minister is debating what may or may not be in the minister’s statement. He has to make a case as to why standing orders should be suspended, not troll through what he purports to be the facts.

MR SPEAKER: Yes. I can imagine Mr Corbell’s defence on this point. Mr Corbell, let us try and speak to why we need a suspension of standing orders specifically, thank you.

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