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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 9 June 2016) . . Page.. 1913 ..


MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Capital Metro, Minister for Health, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for the Environment and Climate Change) (11.51): I appreciate the importance of this matter and the need to ensure that there is capacity for the circumstances of parents, particularly women, who are caring for a newborn, to be appropriately taken into account. The government’s concern though relates to what is proposed, which means the transition of a convention, a longstanding convention, into the formality of this place post the standing orders, and that has not been done before in this place.

Clearly, issues arise that need to be given consideration. For example, what if the requirement were for a pair with a crossbench member in the future? Who would grant that pair? In what circumstances? Are we going to be saying that these are matters ultimately the Speaker needs to adjudicate on if it becomes a continuing resolution of the Assembly? These are the types of matters that I think do need to be discussed, because whilst the intent is a good one and one that is supported I think by all sides, are we saying that it would be the role of the Speaker to adjudicate on matters around pairing in these circumstances? I think these are the types of practical issues that need to be discussed.

Once it is in the standing orders, once it is a continuing resolution of this place, ultimately the Speaker is the adjudicator on issues around the application of that standing order and the associated continuing resolution. We go to the Speaker now on these matters.

These are reasonable questions to ask and reasonable issues to be considered before we make a final decision on Mrs Jones’s proposal. I hope that those discussions can take place. I hope that we can find a resolution for those issues and that we can then make a decision.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (11.53): I thank Mr Corbell for his clarification of how difficult this is. The government just do not want to do it. They made it quite clear that they did not want to do it, and this is their clarification.

I am quite disappointed that Mr Rattenbury has backed them on this issue. What the resolution says is that any member be given a pair. As we explained in discussions when I spoke about this with Ms Burch, say there was a Green MLA here who wanted to vote with the government on an issue, then it would be up to the opposition of the day to provide the pair. It is not hard. It really goes to the heart of something Justin Trudeau said. He was asked why was the party’s cabinet predominantly women. He said, “It is 2016, isn’t it?” It is 2016, members.

Mr Corbell: And you are no Justin Trudeau.

MR SMYTH: And you will not be either, Minister Corbell, when you are finished.

Mr Corbell: I was not claiming to be.


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