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Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Page: 3238


Mr PYNE (SturtManager of Opposition Business) (12:28): Leave is not granted, and the reason is this. When the Leader of the House and I and the crossbenchers negotiated the reinventing the parliament agreement at the beginning of this parliament—

Mr Adams interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Lyons is also out of his seat. I am adamant at the moment: nobody should be interjecting on this unless they want to go and sit in their own seat—and then they would still be in trouble! The Manager of Opposition Business has the call.

Mr PYNE: Thank you for your protection, Madam Speaker. The reinventing the parliament agreement was not a legally binding document and has been departed from by the government and the crossbenchers on numerous occasions. So I will not have any hypocrisy from the crossbenchers or the government about the reinventing the parliament agreement. The only matters out of the reinventing the parliament agreement that were binding on this chamber were those that were transmuted to the standing orders. The Leader of the House has on several occasions relied on that to not abide by the reinventing the parliament agreement in this place. He might now rue the fact that on several occasions over the last three years he has said, if it is not in the standing orders, it does not stand for anything.

The truth is that the government, the opposition and the crossbenchers agreed that, if a member of parliament missed a division for an inadvertent but good reason, we would consider resubmitting a bill or an amendment to the chamber. Four Labor members of parliament, including one whip, failed to take their pagers, which tell us what is going on in the chamber, to the Great Hall, which is a matter of a few hundred metres away. That is not the kind of reason that was regarded as significant enough, even in the reinvented parliament agreement. We discussed at that time that this courtesy could be extended if a member was suddenly ill, was locked in a room and could not escape for whatever reason—as occurred on one occasion in this place some years ago—was in hospital or had an immediate family crisis which required their attention and they could not possibly come. It was not for situations where four members of parliament do not take their beepers to the Great Hall or pay attention to what was going on in the chamber.

For that reason, the coalition will not give leave for this motion. But, if the Leader of the House wants to withdraw his motion and negotiate with the opposition over the course of the rest of the day about this matter, we will listen to the arguments and do so in good faith.