Page 4411 - Week 14 - Thursday, 28 November 2013
Week after week, items sat on the notice paper. In fact, a couple of pieces of legislation Mr Seselja introduced sat there for the entire term and never got debated. The grand plan for an infrastructure commissioner never got debated in the entire term. With 13 or 14 days of private members’ business through an entire year across several years of a term the bill never got debated. To sit here and reflect that there is not enough time and that members cannot get their business done is a furphy.
So I think we need to reflect on that. I think 13 sitting weeks would give us plenty of opportunities. We of course have annual reports hearings, estimates hearings and the like. When people come to visit this place, they ask how often the Assembly sits each year, and I tell them. People seem a bit surprised. They say, “That is not much.” When you talk about the number of committee hearings that are going on and the various processes, they understand.
I think to come in here and say the only time that any scrutiny gets done in this place is during the formal sitting days in the chamber—
Mr Smyth: But I did not say that.
MADAM SPEAKER: Order, Mr Smyth.
MR RATTENBURY: Or imply—fair enough. No, fair cop. Mr Smyth has corrected me. He did not actually say that. But certainly in saying the chamber is the place in which the scrutiny gets done, I do not think tells the full story. I think there are a whole lot of other mechanisms. Members are quite busy a lot of the time, and there is much more to it than simply the number of sitting days on the calendar.
I thank Mr Corbell for the amendment. I think it reflects the pretty steady pattern we have seen in this Assembly in the last few years, and I would be happy to support the motion put forward by Mr Corbell.
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) (12.11): The Labor Party will not be supporting Mr Smyth’s amendment either. And I agree with Mr Rattenbury. It is a furphy. It is a furphy that apparently there is not enough time. The government presents substantive and detailed pieces of legislation every sitting, both for introduction and for debate. I cannot remember the last time I heard an opposition member speak for more than about 10 minutes on any government bill, and I definitely cannot remember the last time I heard more than one opposition member speak in response to a government bill.
So the government gets through its program in a pretty timely way, but it does so because there is very little work being done by those opposite when it comes to debate on government bills. Very short speeches are being given. Usually there is only one speech, and that is it. No-one else is paying attention. Maybe no-one else is awake. I do not know. It is a complete furphy for the Liberal Party to say that there is not enough time. The fact is they are simply not utilising all of the abundant opportunities