Page 1977 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 15 May 2013

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Wednesday, 15 May 2013

MADAM SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Australian Capital Territory (Ministers) Bill 2013

Mr Hanson, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10.01): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I welcome this opportunity. I am very pleased to present this bill that would allow the Legislative Assembly to appoint a sixth ministerial position. The legislation for this is quite clear. I sought advice from the Clerk that led to the draft of this bill. This place can essentially decide on the number of ministers the executive has. I have put this bill forward with six. Equally, it could be seven, eight, nine or a higher number.

This is very much arising from the debate that we have had about the larger Assembly. There has been quite a bit of discussion about the number of ministers. Mr Seselja said when he was Leader of the Opposition that he would support the government in appointing a sixth minister, and I have repeatedly said it.

We have heard comments from Katy Gallagher that she does not have a ministry that is large enough. She has said that at some time she will appoint a sixth minister. The issue is that she has been dragging her heels on this. The government are saying that they want to up to double the number of politicians, up to double the size of the Assembly because they do not have enough ministers, whilst actively limiting the size of the executive to five when it could be six or more. You cannot have two of those debates going at the same time.

So what I want to do is have a sixth minister enacted so that we can then further have a debate about the size of the Assembly. I make the point that this does not actually appoint the sixth minister. This would not create a sixth minister. What this bill today would do, if it gets passed when it is debated in a future sitting, is allow the Chief Minister to appoint the sixth minister. That is an important point of clarification.

It is not just the Chief Minister who has been calling for another minister. The recent review into the size of the Assembly said:

A convincing case was made in the submissions and other discussions that the current 5 member ministry in the ACT is too few.

Dr Hawke in his review said:

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