Page 274 - Week 01 - Thursday, 29 November 2012
urgency. If it is urgent and we are going to lose funding, it should be debated. That is what we were told several times; now it is no longer the case. Is the urgency in relation to the other bills also not really urgent? Is it just convenient?
We are asked to suspend the standing order. The standing order is there for a reason, so that we have time to consider pieces of legislation after they are introduced. It should not be used simply for the government’s convenience and we certainly should not be spun a line by the government which they can conveniently change when circumstances change, when they change their mind or when they need to make further amendments.
So we do seek an explanation; otherwise we would certainly vote no to the suspension of standing orders, because we simply cannot believe what the government is telling us.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.16): I simply want to observe that I think the suspension of standing orders is relevant for the two bills. I think there is a fair explanation for those, but I think Mr Hanson has raised a fair point: this is the first notice the Assembly has had that the health bill would not be debated this morning. I would be quite happy to grant the Chief Minister leave to provide an explanation. I think it is a separate matter from the suspension of standing orders. I think we need to deal with standing orders for these two bills, but I would be more than supportive of the Chief Minister being granted leave to give us a brief explanation on the health bill.
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) (11.17), in reply: Turning to the issue of the Health (National Health Funding Pool and Administration) Bill, I would draw to the Assembly’s attention the fact that the scrutiny committee in its report this morning has provided no comment in relation to the Gaming Machine Amendment Bill or the Road Transport Bill but has provided comment in relation to the Health (National Health Funding Pool and Administration) Bill. Given those comments—
Ms Gallagher: This morning.
MR CORBELL: which were received this morning, and given other advice that the Minister for Health has also received, it is prudent not to proceed with debate on the bill today. It is a government bill and the government, as is the case with any member’s bill—
MADAM SPEAKER: Order, members!
MR CORBELL: It is the well-accepted convention in this place that the proponent of the bill, whether it is a minister or whether it is a private member, has the initiative as to whether or not a bill is debated. That is exactly what we are doing this morning and I have provided an explanation in relation to the bill.