BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Suspension of Standing Orders: Divisions and Quorums
Mr JOHN AQUILINA
(Riverstone—Leader of the House) [4.46 p.m.]: I move:
Mr THOMAS GEORGE
That standing orders be suspended at this sitting to provide that from 7.30 p.m. until the rising of the House no divisions or quorums be called.
(Lismore) [4.46 p.m.]: Again the Government comes into this House and wants to change the rules when it has no work to do.
Mr Gerard Martin:
It is within the rules.
Mr THOMAS GEORGE:
The Government wants to change the rules without any notice and without any consultation whatsoever. I am disappointed that the Leader of the House does not even consult with me, the Opposition Whip. He just walks in and moves a motion seeking the suspension of standing orders. We are certainly not going to grant it without a division. Again this lazy Government comes into this place and wants to change the rules. Members on the other side want to howl me down because I am sticking up for the Opposition and saying that the Government is lazy. We are continually confronted with this. Tomorrow will be private members' day. Members of the Government will walk in and they will want to take that away from us as well. This afternoon we sought the reordering of general business to permit the moving of a motion and subsequent debate tomorrow, but we were turned down. The Government is so arrogant that it is trying to take away the consultation process without any warning whatsoever! It has no work to do.
Ms Linda Burney:
I am about to do some work.
Mr THOMAS GEORGE:
The suspension of standing orders is part of a ploy to bring on private members' statements early. Those opposite have no work to do this afternoon and now we are faced with a suspension of standing orders. The Minister for Fair Trading says she has work to do. That work is an agreement in principle speech. Once that is finished they will want to bring on private members' statements early. Notices of motions cannot be called on before 5.15 p.m. and by the time we are finished it will be 5.15 p.m. There will be no problem filling in the time. I can assure the House and the Government that the Opposition will not put up with such arrogance from a lazy Government that wants to change the rules to suit itself.
What is on the Government's agenda tonight? Why does it want to suspend standing orders? Do Government members want to attend a fundraising dinner? Do they want to celebrate with Kevin 07? The member for Cessnock, who is a retired milkman, just offered me a glass of milk. The Opposition will not tolerate such arrogance from this Government! The Leader of the Opposition is in the Chamber to give me support while I am trying to convince Government members that they should work tonight. The Government wants to suspend standing orders this afternoon to introduce only one bill. It will then have to suspend standing orders again to deal with notices of motions, which is what we expect from this lazy, lazy, lazy Government.
As I said earlier, perhaps Government members need to celebrate tonight, so Opposition members will ensure that there are divisions and quorums. However, Opposition members will not tolerate such arrogance from this Government. It did not consult us before moving a motion to suspend standing orders to ensure that there were no divisions or quorums tonight. I am disappointed in the Leader of the House, who did not even consult me about this matter. [Time expired
Mr JOHN AQUILINA
(Riverstone—Leader of the House) [4.51 p.m.]: The last thing I want to do is upset the member for Lismore. He is one of those genuine people who works hard to ensure that this place runs smoothly. We will not have any quorums or divisions this evening because the House has been running smoothly and we have dealt with an enormous amount of legislation. This evening the Government wants to introduce more legislation. As debate on legislation that has been introduced has been completed there is no point in having quorums, divisions and additional expense and delays.
Recently there has been much talk about family friendly hours. The suspension of standing orders will give members of Parliament an opportunity to observe family friendly hours. We had a good night last night and members had an opportunity to contribute to debate on a number of bills, so today the Government is able to give hardworking members of Parliament, staff and colleagues an opportunity to do other things. Many members will remain in the Chamber while Ministers introduce a number of bills, but no quorums or divisions will be called. I moved the motion to suspend standing orders to ensure that members are not forced to remain in the Chamber while those issues are dealt with.
Question—That the motion be agreed to—put.
The House divided.
Mr J. H. Turner
Mr R. W. Turner
Mr J. D. Williams
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion agreed to.
|Ms Andrews||Mr R. C. Williams|