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Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 November 2015



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 November 2015

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Parliamentary Record 24


Debates for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Hansard Office

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Thursday 19 November 2015 7423 Ms FYLES: Thank you. The attendants have the copies ready. Madam Speaker, I move the following amendment: After the word adopted insert: And, that the Assembly adopt a new Sessional Order as of 1 December which will: 1. suspend the operation of Standing Order 117 and 2. order that when a ministerial statement may be made, a minister may make a statement on: 1. government policy 2. a government decision 3. a government action, or 4. proposed government action At any time when there is no question before the Assembly, provided that copies of the statement are distributed to members by 5 pm the day before the statement is made. Such statements when circulated are to be treated with confidence. Mr WOOD (Nelson): Madam Speaker, I was not expecting this today but I thank the Clerk especially, and the staff who have done a lot of work to bring these new standing orders to parliament. It is a pretty big job to change the standing orders. It is not an easy job and I imagine the Clerk, at times, was frustrated with committee members who were a bit reluctant to say they had read it all in one hit, because it is not exactly bedtime reading. The good thing about it is we have brought it to a much more readable type of standing orders. The Clerk has made sure the language is more applicable, modern and understandable for people who pick up the document. I do not have the examples in front of me, but some of the language used in the present standing orders can be a little cumbersome and out of date. The changes to make the standing orders more logical in the way they are set out were important. Again, I thank the Clerk for his hard work in making those changes, which was not easy, so the committee was able to approve those changes. We know standing orders are extremely important; you only have to sit here at Question Time to find that out. You even need standing orders to try to get rid of the person who makes the decisions about standing orders. Luckily we have standing orders; that person was re-elected because of the way the standing orders are framed. It is good to have secret ballots for voting. What we have before us will be a set of standing orders that will hopefully stand the test of time for a number of years. I do not wish it on any Standing Orders Committee to change standing orders too often, because it is a large amount of work anyone who wishes to go down that path would have to carry out. Madam Speaker, I support the standing orders recommended today. I once again thank the Clerk for all the work he has done and other members of the Legislative Assembly who have been part of the committee. As a member of the committee, I would have done 1% of the work and the Clerk and his helpers would have done about 99% of the work. So once again thank you for that. I support the new standing orders. Mr HIGGINS (Sport and Recreation): Madam Speaker, I was thrust on to the Standing Orders Committee not long after being elected to this parliament. I found that role was a good opportunity to learn the standing orders and procedures. As the Deputy Speaker at the time, I found that very helpful. I agree with the member for Nelson regarding the amount of work the Clerk has done. The member for Nelson takes credit for 1% of the work and gives the Clerk credit for 99% of the work, but I take some credit for a percentage of the work. The Clerk probably did 98%, the member for Nelson 1% and I did1%. Hopefully, the new standing orders are much clearer and easier to follow. Everyone in this House after the goings on this week and issues raised should take the opportunity to have a good read of the standing orders over the next week so they get a clear understanding not just of the standing orders, but the procedures around them. They are: what are we trying to achieve; why are we here; and how do those standing orders help us? They are a bit like operating procedures. The expression RTFM has always been used when we get appliances; it stands for read the full manual. That is a bit like this House. If people want to operate here they should have a complete understanding of the manual. It is very hard reading, as I have read them a couple of times, but I encourage everyone to read them so if we have a repeat of the processes that happened here during the week, everyone will