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Thursday, 14 August 2003
Page: 18518

Mrs CROSIO (9:39 AM) —I rise to correct a number of anomalies that should not remain in the Hansard and mainly to support the motion that you put forward, Mr Speaker. We appreciate very much that the government is accepting the amendment. Amendments are necessary at times for legislation to spell out very clearly what we believe the government and the opposition mean in particular papers before the House. As the Chief Government Whip has said, this has been a long time coming: it was in 1908 when this was first discussed, as indicated by the Manager of Opposition Business.

Mr Speaker, I think that both sides of the House were not actually claiming victory for the motion coming forward; we were commending and congratulating you on finally getting support from your party structure to bring this forward. We may commend and congratulate previous Speaker Halverson and former President Margaret Reid, but if one goes back through history one will find that each time they wished to bring forward a motion in a similar vein to the one that you have, Mr Speaker, the party room did not permit it. I think you have shown a determination to make sure that we have succession of this and that the motion that has come forward, as printed, has finally had the support of your party.

Also for the record of Hansard, it has to be clearly demonstrated that it was the Labor Party that has always been succinct in the fact that we believe the amalgamation of these departments should come forward. We have always believed that, when we look at structure and change and reform, at times we also have to look to certain amalgamation. We have always believed that those five departments perhaps were a bit unwieldy. Recommendations have been made in the past by Speakers as well as Presidents and, after their intense lobbying and certainly after looking objectively at where amendments or changes could be made, reform has now been agreed to.

I believe that what we now have before the House is what needs to be done. I still sound a warning, in my own personal way, because I have never believed that amalgamation for the sake of amalgamation should occur, but, quite frankly, I think the evidence before us has proven that this will have to be. As you would know, Mr Speaker, the House committee and I do worry at times that, when action is required and the funding is not there—because of previous budgets or because future budgets have not indicated it—the savings have always got to be made from the administration side of it. However, I think our amendment is going to cover that. In future, if we have not got the money needed—and the House committee is well aware of what may be needed in the future—at least they are not going to be expected to always sacrifice their particular area of responsibility to meet their financial commitments.

I believe that the amendment is saying that we all support security, certainly. But what we are saying in supporting your statement coming forward to this House is that we also believe that, if there are going to be shortfalls, governments of both political persuasions have got to acknowledge the fact that these moneys need to be met and cannot always come from one specific pocket. Therefore, the changes and the commitments that are going to be made in the future have got to be a combined effort by the parliament, by the people in Treasury and, more importantly, by the people who are going to supply the money to make sure that these departments in the future work and work well. I commend the motion before the House and support the amendment.

The SPEAKER —The question is that the amendment be agreed to.

Question agreed to.

The SPEAKER —The question now is that the motion, as amended, be agreed to.

Question agreed to.