BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Suspension of Standing and Sessional Orders: Order of Business
The Hon. PAUL GREEN
[9.35 a.m.]: I move:
The Hon. LYNDA VOLTZ
That standing and sessional orders be suspended to allow a motion to be moved forthwith that Private Members' Business item No. 692 outside the Order of Precedence, relating to Mother's Day, be called on forthwith.
[9.35 a.m.]: The Opposition will oppose this motion. Not one member in the Chamber would not support a motion relating to Mother's Day. The Hon. Paul Green's motion could have been dealt with as Formal Business. There are several items of business inside the Order of Precedence that members have been waiting for some time to deal with. The House has already commenced debate on the Hon. Mick Veitch's important motion about regional job cuts. The Leader of the Opposition has a motion to introduce a bill to amend the National Parks and Wildlife Act. The Hon. Cate Faehrmann has a motion relating to marriage equality. There are many items of business on the Notice Paper
that are more urgent than a motion relating to Mother's Day. The Opposition will not be supporting urgency.
The Hon. CATE FAEHRMANN
[9.36 a.m.]: I echo the comments of the Hon. Lynda Voltz. The Hon. Paul Green's motion could easily have been dealt with as Formal Business today. Not one member of this Chamber would not support a motion relating to Mother's Day. As members are aware, on Tuesday, in good faith I sent an email to all members giving them notice that I hoped to debate a controversial motion today. I know that my motion is controversial but I gave members sufficient notice to enable them to prepare to debate it. The Hon. Paul Green's motion is a stalling tactic by the Christian Democratic Party to ensure that my motion is not debated. I fear that this will happen time and time again, although a debate on my motion is inevitable as it is within the Order of Precedence.
If members start supporting motions like this so that the House cannot debate potentially controversial motions within the Order of Precedence, where does that leave us? Every single week the Christian Democrats could move to suspend the standing orders simply to delay debate on an issue that they do not want to debate. I do not support the Hon. Paul Green's motion. It sets a bad precedent. On the face of it, this motion is a delaying tactic so that my motion, of which I gave sufficient notice, is not debated, although it must be debated at some stage. It is a pity that this motion has been moved as I emailed members about my motion, in good faith, a couple of days ago.
The Hon. ROBERT BROWN
[9.38 a.m.]: I inform the House that the Shooters and Fishers Party will be supporting the motion moved by the Hon. Paul Green. The Hon. Cate Faehrmann making an argument about the disruption of business by spurious urgency motions is an example of The Greens saying, "Do what we say, not what we do."
Dr JOHN KAYE
[9.39 a.m.]: Surprising, is it not, that the Christian Democrats would seek to politicise motherhood and Mother's Day. I note the laughter from Government members and I note their sense of frivolity about this, but anybody outside this Chamber would recognise that what is going on here is simply an attempt to stop the Hon. Cate Faehrmann's motion coming on. It is a straightforward delaying tactic. Nobody in this House would oppose a motion to acknowledge motherhood and nobody in this House would oppose the motion of the Hon. Paul Green being taken as formal business.
The motion clearly does not need debating because it is not an issue of controversy in this House; it is something we would all agree to. For that very reason this House has the mechanism of Formal Business, which would be entirely appropriate. I note that the Hon. Paul Green did not attempt in any way whatsoever to put this motion on as Formal Business. It is extremely clear what is going on: this is a delaying tactic to avoid a vote on the Hon. Cate Faehrmann's motion on same-sex marriage. It is disgraceful that the Christian Democratic Party would stoop so low as to try to politicise Mother's Day and motherhood.
The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER
(Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Hunter, and Vice-President of the Executive Council) [9.40 a.m.]: I note the sense of mock outrage by The Greens in relation to a motion of which notice has been given by the Hon. Cate Faehrmann. I note that the item is quite a way down the list for Private Members' Business. It is not top of the pops, so to speak; it is item No. 6. Other items ahead of that in the Order of Precedence relate to the 110th anniversary of the right of women to vote, the National Park Estate (South-Western Cypress Reservations) Amendment Bill and regional development and small business. It seems that this is all about The Greens once again. Well, sadly for The Greens, it is not all about them; it is about democracy and the Hon. Paul Green's right to bring forward a motion that he believes is important.
The Hon. Paul Green has not abused the privileges of this House, unlike The Greens over the many years they have been in this House. The Hon. Paul Green has brought forward a motion that he believes is important to him and, going by the sentiments expressed by other members, to many others as well. If The Greens do not want to speak on the motion, they need not, but they should not deny other members the opportunity to stand up and say what they believe is important.
Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE
[9.41 a.m.]: We all know how Private Members' Business works in this Chamber: members who are ready to move a motion that is in the list on a specific day will, ordinarily, be called upon to have that business transacted that day. We know that item No. 2 in the Order of Precedence is not ready to go. I believe the Hon. Mick Veitch is ready to go with his motion, item No. 3, which relates to regional development and small business. I understand that the Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones is ready to go with item No. 4.
The Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones:
I am more than happy to have that debated later.
Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE:
She is not ready to go; I accept the honourable member's statement. The Hon. Luke Foley is ready to proceed with his motion, and the Hon. Cate Faehrmann is ready to go. These items are all in the Order of Precedence and are all of substantially greater moment to the operation of this State than a motion relating to motherhood and Mother's Day. We all support Mother's Day, so why do we not just move the motion now, accept it and then get on with other items of the business of the House for which there has been notice for a substantial period of time?
The Hon. Michael Gallacher:
We might want to talk about it.
Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE:
I note the interjection from the Hon. Michael Gallacher. He wants to spend hours in this Chamber talking about Mother's Day. This is the epitome of the O'Farrell Government's approach to this Chamber: Let us not worry about the real issues; let us not worry about matters of actual moment. The O'Farrell Government wants to spend hours of this Parliament debating Mother's Day. That just sums up the Government. But there will not even be a debate on Mother's Day—we all support Mother's Day and we all support motherhood. Let us just move the motion.
The Hon. DAVID CLARKE
(Parliamentary Secretary) [9.44 a.m.]: In response to the comments of Dr John Kaye that we are politicising Mother's Day, I remind him of the recent debate in this House on Anzac Day. On his argument, that motion could have been agreed to without debate because it had the support of every member in this place. But we unanimously chose to debate it because it is a very important matter. The arguments raised by The Greens are drivel. Every second day they have the nerve, the cheek and the gall to try to bring on an item of business that is not really urgent. Mother's Day falls on this coming Sunday and the members of this Chamber are entitled to speak to this motion, just as they had the right to speak to the motion relating to Anzac Day, which, as I said earlier, was agreed to by all members of the House. Once again The Greens are just being cute.
Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE
[9.45 a.m.]: First, The Greens have argued that the motion could have been dealt with as Formal Business. That would have prevented all members of the House participating and expressing their views in debate on the motion. We believe it is not right to gag members of the House who wish to speak on a motion. Second, Mr David Shoebridge seems to think that the motion relates only to Mother's Day. I remind him that the motion has a second leg—and I assume even The Greens have mothers—a punchline, if you like, which states:
That this House acknowledges the remarkable sacrifices mothers make for the wellbeing of their loved ones.
That will give all members an opportunity to express their personal views and those of their electorates on this important matter.
The Hon. NATASHA MACLAREN-JONES
[9.46 a.m.]: I respond to comments made by Mr David Shoebridge. Yes, it is true that there is an item of business on the Notice Paper
standing in my name, but I am more than happy for that to be debated at a later stage because I believe that motherhood is a very important issue and we should all have an opportunity to speak on its importance.
Question—That the motion be agreed to—put.
The House divided.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion agreed to.