Parliamentary record : Part I debates (30 November 1989)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 30 November 1989 Mr Coulter: You are the one who is moving it. Mr BELL: If the Leader of the Government Business will cease interjecting. I will explain to him. I understand that he is a little slow with these things but. if he were to shut his mouth and read the words in front of him. he would see that the effect of replacing '20' by '13' would meant that there would be an extra 3 sitting days in 1990 by having a 3-week sittings in February/March. Mr Collins: Why then? Mr BELL: To answer the interjection from the member for Sadadeen. if the Leader of Government Business would like to accept an alternative amendment to his original motion. that would be acceptable to the opposition. However. I remind him of his undertaking. which was referred to in the report that was tabled. I trust that the Leader of Government Business. being a man of his word - even though he had a slight slip-up this afternoon when he suggested that an amendment be moved and then gagged it . Mr SPEAKER: Order! The honourable member is aware of the standing orders. as the Leader of Government Business is aware of standing orders. as the Speaker is aware of standing orders but. from time to time. we are reminded of standing orders by the Clerk or the Deputy Clerk. In this instance, standing orders require that the member for MacDonnell put his motion in writing. Mr BELL:' Mr Speaker. I will forthwith put my motion in writing as I speak. Basically. we are referring to,the capacity of the Leader of Government Business to stand by his word. The report indicated that the Leader of Government Business said that we would have 3 extra sitting days in 1990. He said earlier today that he would allow me to make some comments on a previous motion' and I hope that. in this regard, his track record can be considered a little more acceptable than it has been hitherto. I urge that he give due consideration to his own proposal. It was his own proposal that we have 3 extra sitting days in 1990. I will g,ive a' little bit of background to honourable members. It has been quite extraordinary, particularly this year, that the Assembly has sat so many times well into the night. Last night, we finished closer to midnight than sunset and I beli~ve that the business of the Assembly would be better conducted if we had.3additional sitting days. I might mention in passing that the amount of time taken has often been the result of the increasing number of ministerial statements and the increasing desire of members to debate those statements in this Assembly. I believe that, by and large, those debates have been free of frivolous repetition. By and large, they have been important debates. Occasionally, ministers have introduced statements into this Assembly that have simply involved an advertisement for themselves and have not necessarily contained substantial news for members of the Assembly, the public or the media, to whom they are presumably directed. Concomitantly, I am deeply concerned about the relatively scant time this Assembly spends on considering legislation. In that context, the practice of ministers reading their second-reading speeches is a matter of considerable concern in that ministers are unable to lead debate and, without reading, explain to members why the principles involved are important. That,is one of my reasons for never reading a second-reading speech word for word. When we 8516
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