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Wednesday, 2 November 2005
Page: 4


Mr ANDREWS (Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.


Mr Stephen Smith —Mr Speaker, I have a point of order. My point of order is—


Mr ANDREWS —It’s going to be introduced, no matter what!

Opposition members—Arrogant!


The SPEAKER —Order! The member for Perth has the call.


Mr Stephen Smith —My point of order is pursuant to standing order 142(a), which says:

If copies of the bill are available to Members, the Member presenting the bill may move immediately after the first reading—

to the second reading. This is a 687-page bill and a 565-page explanatory memorandum—1,252 pages. They are not available for members in the House. I know that on that side they may be, but where are the 60 copies for this side? The minister cannot move to the second reading until the bill, which they do not want to be subject to—


The SPEAKER —Can copies be distributed to those members who require them?

Government members—No!


Mr Abbott —Mr Speaker, on the point of order: there are two copies that the member has, and he has just picked up a number of copies from the ministerial table.


Mr Stephen Smith —Further to the point of order, Mr Speaker: the standing order is expressly clear—before you can move immediately from the first reading to the second reading, copies must be available to members. There are 1,252 pages which they do not want to be subject to scrutiny and which are not available to members. The minister cannot move the second reading until they are available.


The SPEAKER —We will have copies distributed immediately.


Mr McMullan —Mr Speaker, further to the point of order raised by the member for Perth regarding standing order 142(a), standing order 142(b) says:

If copies of the bill are not available, a future sitting shall be appointed for the second reading ...

The minister could not move the second reading, at the point at which he rose because copies were not available. The standing orders require a future sitting to be appointed. That is what standing order 142(b) requires and what you must insist upon, Mr Speaker.


The SPEAKER —I thank the member for Fraser.


Mr Tuckey —Mr Speaker, on the point of order: standing order 142(b), as referred to by the member, says:

... copies of the bill must then be available to Members.

It does not say ‘available to every member of the House’.

Opposition members interjecting


The SPEAKER —Order!


Mr Tuckey —They are available. ‘Available’ does not mean that they have to be in their hands. If they do not understand that, they ought to go back to primary school!


Mr Stephen Smith —Mr Speaker, further to the point of order that I originally raised and following upon the contribution by the member for O’Connor, standing order 142(a) is crystal clear:

If copies of the bill are available ...


The SPEAKER —I thank the member for Perth. I think he has made his point.


Mr Stephen Smith —No, no. Mr Speaker—


The SPEAKER —The member for Perth will resume his seat.


Mr Stephen Smith —I am making a further point, Mr Speaker. The further point is this, Mr Speaker. It goes to standing order 142(b). Standing order 142(b) says ‘if copies of the bill are not available’ to the 60 members on this side—even though they are not interested—the House now has no option but to move to the next matter of business until they are available. They have had five months—


The SPEAKER —Members are aware that copies of the bill are available—

Opposition members—Where are they?


The SPEAKER —Copies of the bill are available. I remind the member for Denison that there are copies right here.


Mr Kerr —Mr Speaker, on a further point of order: it is an absurd proposition you are putting that these bills are available. They are not available.


The SPEAKER —On the points of order, the ruling is that the bill is now available. I call the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations.


Mr ANDREWS —Mr Speaker—


Mr Stephen Smith —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Standing orders 142(a) and 142(b) are crystal clear. If the minister wants to move—


The SPEAKER —I have ruled on that point of order.


Mr Stephen Smith —I am making a different point of order. You have now given the minister the opportunity to read the bill for a second time. Standing orders 142(a) and 142(b) are crystal clear. The copies of the bill must be available to members. They are not available to the 60 members on this side.


The SPEAKER —Copies of the bill are available, and members have had them distributed. They are also available in the Table Office.

Debate interrupted.