Page 60 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 27 November 2012

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MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education) (12.12): I will just speak briefly on this amendment. What we have seen happen here this morning is a lazy opposition that has not read a motion that was circulated to it yesterday.

Mr Coe, the opposition whip, started his address on this motion by saying that the opposition would support this motion subject to the amendment that he had circulated. Then it dawned on—

Mr Coe: Amendments.

MS GALLAGHER: No, the amendment that he had circulated, which he had circulated ahead of this debate: “We will support this motion subject to the amendment I have circulated about the justice committee.” And then we saw what happened. We saw the hardworking opposition actually read it for the first time and go, “Hang on a minute; this doesn’t suit us.” Then we heard Mr Smyth use words like “there will be no pain for the government through this committee”. So it is very clear what the agenda is from the opposition. It is about inflicting pain on the government, as opposed to working collaboratively in a committee system in the best interests of the people of the ACT, which is actually what the committee is meant to do. The committee is not meant to be a pain vehicle for the opposition, which is clearly what Mr Smyth was intending.

Contrary to what Mr Seselja has said—that this is about us refusing to cooperate—this is about us requiring that you do cooperate. You are not known for your cooperative stance, and this will require—

MADAM SPEAKER: Order, Chief Minister! I have already asked you, or asked members, to be cognisant of standing order 42. You should not be referring to members on the other side as “you”. You should be addressing the chair. Can you keep that in mind, please?

MS GALLAGHER: I can, Madam Speaker, and it is easier to do just that if you are not being heckled by members of the opposition, so I would just make that point.

In my discussions with Mr Seselja in relation to the committees I indicated to him when we met that, yes, we had reached agreement with Mr Rattenbury as per the parliamentary agreement. I also indicated to him that we were considering four-member committees. I made that point. It was clear. He responded by saying that he did not agree with that, and I said, “This is a matter that will be determined by our party room.” So just let us be correct on the record about those discussions that were had—and that this is a reflection of the party room discussion and is in line with the discussion that I had with Mr Seselja.

This arrangement does require the public accounts committee to work cooperatively. I think there is the opportunity to make sure that happens. The control and the capacity for that to happen are firmly and squarely with the chair and the opposition and the approach that they bring to the committee’s proceedings.

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