Page 3749 - Week 10 - Thursday, 14 September 2017

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Mr Gentleman: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.

MS LAWDER: Can we stop the clock, please, Madam Speaker?

MADAM SPEAKER: Stop the clock, please. Yes.

Mr Gentleman: My understanding of the standing orders is that debate needs to be relevant to the motion. The motion in this case is to suspend standing orders to allow what I see as a private member’s motion to go forward, and I have not heard any debate relative to that part of the motion.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Coe, on the point of order?

Mr Coe: Yes, on that point of order, Ms Lawder has said on numerous occasions why she thinks the government does not want to address this matter. That is at the core of what suspension of standing orders is all about and I think she is entirely in order.

MADAM SPEAKER: I am not going to rule on the point of order, but I will ask Ms Lawder to be more succinct and direct in her comments as to the reason for the suspension in the time that she has left.

MS LAWDER: Thank you, Madam Speaker. To return to what I was saying, this government needs to be more open and accountable. We have talked about that. The government themselves on many occasions have talked about open government, transparency, and yet they are stymieing every opportunity. In the past few weeks, starting with unanswered questions to my email of 12 July to Minister Gentleman and numerous questions in this place, the government has continued to obfuscate and avoid the questions that we have asked. If we had access to this document, who knows, I might think, “Oh, perhaps I do not need to keep asking these questions because I have some answers.” This document might provide those answers. But until this government lives up to their lovely, honeyed words of openness and transparency, we will not know.

We asked questions in this place and then what did we see, magically? An article in the paper yesterday from the task force about the cladding. They are perfectly happy to give this information to the Canberra Times but not to the opposition. Heaven forbid that we give information to the opposition. Heaven forbid that we give leave to move a motion requiring them to table the report. No, what we want to do here—this government, this arrogant, out-of-touch government—is continue to obfuscate and continue to withhold information that any opposition in any parliament in our Westminster system would have every right to seek.

I do not understand why they are so unwilling, when they have already discussed this report with so many other agencies and organisations, to provide it to the opposition, why they are so unwilling to answer questions, why they are so unwilling to live up to their own words of openness, transparency, accountability. A compact with the ACT people? No. Instead it is actually about treating the opposition like mushrooms, and it makes me really, really angry.

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