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Monday, 23 May 2011
Page: 4061

Mr FITZGIBBON (HunterChief Government Whip) (15:44): I am compelled to make a contribution given that the Manager of Opposition Business suggested that I should have done something to better inform myself on the reasons for the decision to discharge—albeit temporarily, as I understand it—the Chief Opposition Whip. I do not have forewarning of these matters. I found out about this matter fairly late in question time today.

In response to the contribution by the Manager of Opposition Business I will say that if the opposition are moving to do something, I think, very substantial—that is, to stand down the Chief Opposition Whip from the Selection Committee—they may have seen fit to consult the Chief Government Whip on the matter. If they had done so, on the basis of the Manager of Opposition Business's contribution, we would have been better informed.

My understanding is that the motion moved by the Leader of the House made no reference to the discharge or the appointment being temporary. So how was the Leader of the House to have known that the opposition were doing something so extraordinary as to remove the Chief Opposition Whip from the Selection Committee for one day? Why would you? Unless it is the intention of the opposition tomorrow to suddenly politicise the Selection Committee—something we have worked very hard not to have happen—what other reason would they have to move a procedural motion in this place to replace the Chief Opposition Whip for one day? It was absolutely reasonable for the Leader of the House to reflect on the issue given that we were given no explanation whatsoever and given that there was no reference in the motion to the issue being temporary.

I assume that the Leader of the House is now going to have to rise on Wednesday to discharge Ms Marino and reappoint the Chief Opposition Whip, and I ask members of the opposition, particularly the Manager of Opposition Business, who is very fond of interjecting, if that is the case because, if that is the case, that is rather extraordinary.

Question agreed to.