Page 270 - Week 01 - Thursday, 29 November 2012

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We believe the community expects that we will have the opportunity to hold the government to account, to vigorously debate legislation. Sometimes legislation takes some time to debate, and we should not be curtailing that. We should have the ability to really slug it out on the floor of the chamber, to put our views, to move amendments and to do all the things that are needed.

Private members’ day is very important to us as well. Much is achieved on private members’ day. We have seen some significant pieces of legislation in the last Assembly that have been driven out of private members’ day. We think of things like the random roadside drug testing. That came out of private members’ day. I refer to the cost of living statement which now is included in the budget. These are all important outcomes that have come from private members’ day. We do not believe they should be curtailed.

This very simple amendment is to add two weeks, an extra six sitting days. Forty-five sitting days would probably still put us at about the lowest number of sitting days of any parliament in Australia, but we believe it would be more reasonable, and I look forward to the support of members.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development) (11.00): The government will not be supporting Mr Seselja’s amendment. This is a disingenuous argument from those opposite. We hear it in every term after they have lost an election. We heard it in 2008 when they lost the election; we heard it in 2004 when they lost the election; we heard it in 2001 when they lost the election: “We want to work harder than you guys. We want to be the ones who are here longer because we have to prove in some macho way that we are harder working.”

They are so interesting in holding the government to account and so interested in working harder that they left it until 24 hours before the sitting of this place to even get around to working out who their shadow ministers were. That is how serious and hard working they are. He had weeks; he had nearly a month.

MADAM SPEAKER: Relevance, Mr Corbell.

MR CORBELL: Madam Speaker, Mr Seselja did raise the issue about who was working harder and I am simply replying to that comment.

The issue here is that the long-term average for sitting weeks in this place is 13 weeks, and that is exactly what is being suggested here today. It is a completely disingenuous argument to suggest that the only time members in this place work is when the Assembly is sitting. That might be the way the opposition work. It might be the case; in fact I think it is pretty sure that it is the case, that when the Assembly is not sitting Mr Seselja and his team do not do any work. But I can assure you, Madam Speaker, that the government and my backbench colleagues are working very hard when the Assembly is not sitting. There are committees to be attended to, there is the work of

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