Page 39 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 27 November 2012

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notice for amendments. There is often good reason, and for complex pieces of legislation, there is often back and forth. This will be an unreasonable stymieing of debate in this place. There is always the ability to adjourn when there is too much complexity and too many last-minute changes. The Assembly always has the ability to do that. But to make an ironclad rule that all amendments have to be circulated 24 hours before will stifle the work of this place. When you are only sitting for 13 weeks and for less hours, it is going to mean more of those pieces of legislation pushed out, and we will not achieve as much. We certainly will not be supporting this. I think it will come back to bite the government. As Mr Coe flagged, we will look very dimly on the government then seeking leave to suspend standing orders so that they can get around the rule that they are imposing on the entire Assembly.

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) (11.07): Laziness? How long did it take Mr Seselja to appoint his shadow ministry? It is the only thing he had to do between the Chief Minister being elected and the sitting today, and he left it until the last 24 hours. So laziness? For heaven’s sake, Madam Deputy Speaker!

Mr Hanson: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order, the matter before the house is about Assembly timings and amendments to standing orders. The first thing that the manager of government business does is stand up with this sort of vitriol that is irrelevant to the debate and attack, because he has no substance to deal with the issue at hand. I would ask you to ask the minister to be directly relevant to the matter before the house, which is these unworkable amendments.

MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Corbell, would you continue and keep relevant.

MR CORBELL: The truth hurts, Madam Deputy Speaker. Addressing the issues that members have raised across the chamber, first of all, it is important to reflect that in this parliament, unlike any other parliament in the country, a full one-third of every sitting week is dedicated to non-executive business. Go to any other parliament in the country and talk to the oppositions in those parliaments about how much time they have available to debate matters that they want to put on the table in those parliaments, and they would say to you, “What? A full day out of every three sitting days devoted to opposition and non-executive business? What a luxury.” So let us have a bit of perspective, please, when it comes to the capacity of the non-executive members to raise matters in this place.

Turning to the issue of the provisions in relation to the standing orders and the proposal, particularly, which seems to have attracted the opposition’s ire, in relation to providing for amendments to be circulated, this is a discipline imposed on all members, including the government. We will need to work through diligently in relation to these matters. The government are prepared to do it. The real question is: why aren’t the opposition prepared to do it? Perhaps it is because the opposition are often the serial offenders in this place when it comes to presenting amendments late.

The government does frequently move amendments to its own bills. That is a common practice. But we always endeavour to provide those amendments in advance

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