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Thursday, 24 June 2004
Page: 31677

Ms GILLARD (Manager of Opposition Business) (2:26 PM) —Mr Speaker, if I could make a statement, on indulgence.

The SPEAKER —I will recognise the member for Lalor. I must indicate to both business managers that indulgence is not a facility for debate. I interrupted the Leader of the House for that reason. The member for Lalor must be similarly constrained.

Ms GILLARD —Thank you, Mr Speaker. Can I just indicate to the Leader of Government Business that my statement before was to indicate that we have cooperated with the passage of all time-critical legislation—all matters related to the budget that had a 30 June imperative because of the financial year. As the minister well knows, matters being dealt with by the Senate now are not time critical and indeed some of them were introduced into the House this week. That is the way in which the government has managed its program. It introduced these bills into the House this week rather than introducing them in a timely fashion to enable them to be dealt with on sitting days which were already scheduled. It is not the obligation of the opposition to keep this House sitting and quorate to deal with the government's business program; it is the obligation of the government. The Leader of the House has made reference to what taxpayers expect of members of parliament. Can I say to the Leader of the House his obligation as Leader of the House is to have a quorum sitting in this parliament at all times, and we will be holding him and his members to that obligation.