Page 58 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 27 November 2012

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be somewhat separate”? We see this vacant chair, Madam Speaker, this illusion of separation. If Mr Rattenbury fails to support Mr Smyth’s amendment then he may as well move to that chair because any illusion of separation between him and the Labor Party has gone.

MR SESELJA (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (12.05): When the Chief Minister offered in this new Assembly some desire to work across the Assembly, I took that at face value, and when we had initial discussions about committees it was very apparent and very clear that a deal had been done between the Labor Party and the Greens, which we did not agree with, that there would be three committees controlled by the Labor Party and two committees controlled by the Liberal opposition. But that is not what is reflected here.

However we look at the election result and the make-up of this new Assembly, no-one would dispute that it was a very close result and that the make-up of the Assembly is now as finely balanced as it has ever been. We have a situation where, for the first time, the party with the most votes is in opposition. We are not happy about that, but everyone would agree that it is a very finely balanced Assembly.

This motion today throws out the window what was said by both the Chief Minister and by Mr Rattenbury in relation to reflecting this parliament. It says that the Labor Party will take control of three committees and it will also seek to nobble the public accounts committee as well. So those opposite are using their numbers today to railroad through a system which is akin to majority government. What they are saying is: “We’re not going to reflect the numbers in the committee system. We have nine; you have eight.” And if that is the case, I will simply say, “You had better bring your nine votes every day,” because there needs to be cooperation in this place for this Assembly to work.

This coalition government today have said there will be no cooperation from them; they will ram through what they like because they have nine votes. If they then come to us seeking our cooperation on the various things that this Assembly needs to cooperate on, we are going to be far less inclined to do that. So this parliament will be a very difficult and possibly unworkable one. They have chosen today to make one committee—all agree that it is about the most important committee in the Assembly—unworkable and to make it as difficult as possible for that committee to scrutinise the government.

We know how these things work. We have seen how the Labor Party use their backbenchers when it comes to scrutiny of the government. When it comes to any big questions, they will be voting no to scrutiny. We can foresee that right now. No matter how much any chair tries to work with them, when it comes to it, Labor members are going to go in there and vote no to scrutiny of a Labor government. That is how it will work.

So the Labor Party and the Greens, this coalition government, today have said in this parliament and through this vote: “It doesn’t matter that it’s finely balanced. We’re not going to have the committees actually reflect the numbers in this place. We will have the committees reflect the fact that it’s nine-eight, so we will do what we like.”

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