Page 1526 - Week 05 - Thursday, 11 April 2013

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Questions without notice

Ministerial arrangements

MR HANSON: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, you have been publicly advocating for an enlarged Assembly, partly on the rationale that it would provide the opportunity for an expanded range of members available to join the ministry. Chief Minister, you have a four-member backbench. It is available now under the self-government act for the Assembly to enact for a sixth minister to be appointed from your backbench. Chief Minister, why have you not taken action to enact for a sixth minister?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank the Leader of the Opposition and welcome his interest in matters that I am currently considering. It does require legislative change. It would also require further appropriations. So it is not something that I can just do with the stroke of a pen. I welcome Mr Hanson’s interest in all matters relating to the size of the Assembly. When I will—

Mr Hanson: What’s wrong with your backbench, Katy?

MS GALLAGHER: There is absolutely nothing wrong with my backbench. None of them are in the departure lounge like yours are, Jeremy. Bring your glass of whiskey in, your slippers, on your way out? There is absolutely nothing wrong with my backbench. They are very hardworking members of the government team, very involved in the decisions that the government takes. Indeed, they have a much heavier workload than any other single member of your team, Mr Hanson. They are hardworking members representing their constituency, and I am very proud to be a leader of such a talented side.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Chief Minister, why have you appointed a Greens minister at the expense of someone from the Labor Party?

MS GALLAGHER: Have you got nothing better to do, Mr Hanson? Seriously, the final sitting day of an Assembly period and you are worried about this? Really? You are really worried about it?

I would draw your attention to the parliamentary agreement signed between Shane Rattenbury and myself back in November which consigned you guys to four more long years on the opposition benches. And it still hurts, doesn’t it? It still hurts. It hurts so much that Mr Seselja has had to put his slippers on, sign his thankyou cards and get out of that door—at a time of his choosing, not yours, Mr Hanson, which we have all noticed.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Chief Minister, why are you insisting on a larger Assembly when you are not making full use of your existing members?

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