BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Suspension of Standing and Sessional Orders: Order of Business
The Hon. MICHAEL VEITCH
[11.41 a.m.]: I move:
The Hon. CHARLIE LYNN
That standing and sessional orders be suspended to allow a motion to be moved forthwith that Private Members' Business item No. 178 outside the Order of Precedence, relating to a condolence motion concerning Sergeant Brett Till, be called on forthwith.
The Hon. DUNCAN GAY (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) [11.42 a.m.]: The motion the Hon. Michael Veitch wants to proceed is important and could have been moved on any of the past 14 sitting days. The motion relates to the death of one of our brave soldiers and should be given due reverence. It should not be used as a political tactic to delay debate on an important bill before the House. The Hon. Michael Veitch is a decent man. The Hon. Lynda Voltz, who gave notice of this condolence motion, has the best of motives. I give an undertaking from the Opposition to enable the House to sit the length of time required to allow members to pay proper tribute to this young man who tragically lost his life. The condolence motion should not be used as a political tool to delay debate on a motion that has followed the proper procedures of the House. Many people from regional New South Wales have travelled here to listen to the comments of the various players in debate on another important matter. I know the Hon. Michael Veitch is a decent bloke. I ask him to withdraw his motion and accept the Opposition's undertaking that it will allow proper reverence to be given to this brave young soldier at the appropriate time. The Opposition opposes the motion for urgency.
[11.43 a.m.]: I endorse the comments of my colleague the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. I am a former professional soldier with 21 years of service. I am the only Vietnam veteran in any Parliament in Australia. I fully support the motion of the Hon. Lynda Voltz. However, to use such a motion as a political tool is disgraceful. Every ex-service man and woman in Australia would be absolutely disgusted, as I am, that such a motion was being used as a political tool.
The Hon. Amanda Fazio: Point of order: My point of order is that the standing orders require visitors in the public gallery to not participate in debates, not clap and not call out. It is entirely inappropriate for people who are supposed to observe the proceedings in this Chamber to interrupt. I ask that you, Mr President, caution the people sitting in the gallery to observe the standing orders of this place or ask them to leave.
Order! This is a Chamber for debate and members should observe its forms. I understand that members of the public in the gallery are concerned about a number of issues, but they too must observe the forms of the House.
The Hon. ROBERT BROWN
[11.46 a.m.]: The Shooters Party concurs with the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. The matter raised by the Hon. Michael Veitch deserves suitable time for debate. We have important business for discussion today. The motion for urgency is not appropriate at this time.
The Hon. LYNDA VOLTZ
[11.46 a.m.]: I understand the concerns of members in the House. I seek an undertaking from the Opposition that at the next opportunity the condolence motion will be debated. Sergeant Till is the tenth soldier we have lost in Afghanistan. Members are aware that I have moved numerous motions to enable this matter to be debated. It is an important issue for Australia and New South Wales because a tremendous number of soldiers have been lost to their regiments, their families and their children.
The Hon. DON HARWIN
[11.47 a.m.]: The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has given the undertaking to debate the condolence motion either today or in another form. Of course, the motion can be dealt with as formal business, which could have happened on any day in the past 14 days since notice was given. The undertaking certainly is given.
The Hon. IAN MACDONALD
(Minister for Primary Industries, Minister for Energy, Minister for Mineral Resources, and Minister for State Development) [11.47 a.m.]: The Government seeks to withdraw the motion now that appropriate undertakings have been given.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.