Page 279 - Week 01 - Thursday, 29 November 2012
lack of courtesy of the health minister. Having asked for urgency then having pulled back on that urgency, not to even sit here and listen to what Mr Hanson had to say I think shows a lack of courtesy.
But what we heard from the health minister was that in fact this was never urgent. She said that it was “preferable”. That was the word she used. She said that it was preferable that this happen. That is not a reason for urgency. So the reason we were given was a false one and that is very disappointing because we do have to take at face value some of what the government tells us on these things.
When they say that we have these urgent bills, these are the reasons, we are often not in a position to know whether or not they are telling the truth. We have to take at face value that they are in fact giving us correct information. In this case, they were not. If they are giving us false information on this, I think that that will undermine every request for urgency and every piece of information the government gives us where they say: “This is what the department has advised us. This is needed. This is what is happening at COAG.” If in future we are going to suspend standing orders so that legislation can be debated urgently, it is incumbent upon the government to be honest and to be truthful about what has happened.
I will just make another couple of brief points on this as well. The other reason given by the health minister was the new regime. I would simply make two points about that new regime. We did make the point that it would not help for the workability of the Assembly to have a 24-hour rule on amendments. We have been proven correct on day 3 because Ms Gallagher has now said that a bill that was deemed urgent will now not be debated for a couple of months because of an arbitrary rule that says you have to have 24-hours notice for amendments. I think the case we made has been proven.
The other point that I would make, though, is that we are talking about a suspension of standing orders. So if it was that important, if it was that urgent, we are suspending standing orders so that the ordinary course between introduction and debate does not occur. Likewise, that could occur for amendments also, Madam Speaker. So there is an absurdity to it.
Just finally, we need to know that what the government is telling us on these matters is true. It has been proven in this case that it was not. I think that is very disappointing and it will certainly colour future negotiations.
Ordered that order of the day No 1, executive business, be postponed until a later hour this day.
Road Transport (Third-Party Insurance) Amendment Bill 2012
Debate resumed from 27 November 2012, on motion by Mr Barr:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (11.35): The opposition will be supporting this bill. This bill fixes up a number of inconsistencies that have arisen as a consequence of the last day of debate on the original bill. I think members will remember that it was quite an exciting event. We suspended discussions and all sorts of things were going on.