Page 36 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 27 November 2012
same as the amount of time allocated for Assembly business and may be extended by 30 minutes by resolution of the Assembly. The purpose of executive members’ business is to provide a forum for Mr Rattenbury to participate in his role as a crossbench member as well as the role he performs in this place as a minister.
Finally, amendment No (5) provides for a new standing order to deal with amendments to bills. Members will be aware that there have been some circumstances where amendments have been proposed to bills before the Assembly for debate which have not been given to other members in adequate time for their consequence and impact to be properly considered. Therefore, this new standing order, 178A, provides that amendments to a bill proposed to be moved during the detail stage must be delivered to the Clerk’s office for circulation to members 24 hours prior to the sitting day on which the amendments are to be moved. This ensures that members are given prior notice of proposed amendments to a bill in advance of the bill being brought on for debate.
These changes put in place a range of improvements to the conduct and business of the Assembly, and I commend the motion to members.
MR COE (Ginninderra) (10.56): The amendments Mr Corbell has moved today to the standing orders are indicative of the partisan agreement the Labor Party has with the Greens. They are indicative of a government that wants to do less work and be less accountable to the ACT, and they are also indicative of a government that does not understand the workings of this place and, indeed, will push much of the debate which happens here under the table. It will, in effect, push debate into the back room rather than the transparency of the chamber floor.
In particular, the concerns the ACT opposition have relate to the change to standing order 69(g) whereby the MPI will be reduced to just 45 minutes. The matter of public importance is just that—it is a matter of public importance for the Assembly on the given day. That reflects an opportunity for primarily non-executive members to chat about and discuss the issues that are pertinent to their electorates. The government is scuttling that opportunity to just 45 minutes. We will not be supporting that change.
The government are also proposing to delay the commencement of question time to 2.30 to therefore have a two-hour lunch. We do not think this is appropriate. We have a government that want to sit fewer weeks and now sit fewer hours on any given day. That is inappropriate, but it is indicative of a government that do not want to be held to account by the ACT people or by the opposition. It makes a mockery of the claim that they need more members and more ministers if, in effect, they think they can get the work of this place done in fewer weeks and in fewer hours on any given day.
The Canberra Liberals will not be supporting new standing order 178A, which mandates that amendments shall be delivered to the Clerk’s office for circulation 24 hours prior to the sitting day on which amendments are proposed to be moved. We do not think this is reasonable and we do not think it is possible. I think we have all seen in this place many occasions where amendments are brought on closer than 24 hours to the discussion of the relevant issue. However, that is for good reason. In effect, rather than having debates on this chamber floor, the government want to have