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Tuesday, 13 September 2011
Page: 9945


Mr ALBANESE (GrayndlerLeader of the House and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (19:05): In closing the debate I will be brief, because I know that the Manager of Opposition Business has an important event to get to. The fact of the matter is that this resolution is more reasonable than anything that was ever done for serious issues by the former government. Indeed, the extraordinary proposition that they put forward over the debating of the GST bills in this House was that there was less time for scrutiny and less debate. The Manager of Opposition Business is exposed by his absurd argument, which seems to be that we do not have enough time to debate the bills, but we are going to oppose an extension of time to debate the bills because he says that would let the government off the hook. That is quite extraordinary, bizarre and weird logic from the member for Sturt—even for him. I give him credit for creativity in coming up with such an absurd piece of logic.

The fact is this: if more members wish to speak, there will be time allocated for them to do so. I have proposed to the Manager of Opposition Business, for example, that on the coming two Tuesdays of parliamentary sitting week would sit from 9 am to 2 pm. That would allow an extra 10 hours of debate on the second reading. Given that the Manager of Opposition Business has acknowledged that that alone is half the entire time that was allowed for the GST debate, it is quite extraordinary. But the opposition, of course, has a very short memory. The opposition has a short memory about Work Choices, about the Iraq War, about the Tampa legislation and about a range of other pieces of legislation that it rammed through this House.

This debate management motion is more democratic than any process that has ever been established in this House of Representatives. It is more democratic because it is allowing for one month a process where everyone is clear about what that process will be. I commend the motion to the House and reject the amendment moved by the Manager of Opposition Business.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr S Sidebottom ): The question is that the amendment moved by the honourable member for Sturt be agreed to. There being more than one voice calling for a division, in accordance with standing order 133 the division is deferred until after 8 pm.

Debate adjourned.