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Thursday, 24 June 2004
Page: 31672

Ms GILLARD (Manager of Opposition Business) (2:03 PM) —Mr Speaker, I had indicated to your deputy before the change in the chair that I would be seeking to make a statement on indulgence in my capacity as Manager of Opposition Business, in response to the statement made by the Leader of the House of which I was not given notice.

The SPEAKER —I am quite happy to recognise the member for Lalor. The Deputy Speaker did point that out to me. However, I was merely following the passage of legislation. He had not indicated at what point you would be seeking that indulgence. If the House has no objection, I will allow the member for Lalor to make a short statement.

Ms GILLARD —My statement relates to the arrangements for the continued sitting of the House. The opposition have cooperated with the government here and in the Senate to enable them to clear through the time-critical legislation—that is, the legislation that relates to matters that needed to be processed before the end of the financial year. The bills that are now being dealt with in the Senate are not of that order. Consequently it is the opposition's view that, if the government could not organise their legislative program to deal with those bills earlier, then there is not an obligation on the opposition to cooperate with the continued sitting of the House whilst the Senate processes that non-time-critical business. Therefore, we will not be cooperating as follows. We will only be supplying shadow ministerial speakers on bills and insofar as is necessary to deal with consideration of messages from the Senate. There will be no other speakers from the opposition, so the government will need to provide all speakers to ensure the House remains sitting, and we will be regularly requiring the government to ensure that there is a quorum available in the House. If they are unable to do that, then of course the business of the House will lapse.

The SPEAKER —I merely want to correct the record—which is not entirely my prerogative—by indicating that whether or not the business of the House lapses would depend on the chair being recalled in five minutes, not on the specific statement made by the member for Lalor. I am not disagreeing with the member for Lalor, merely correcting the point she made. (Quorum formed)