Fiery first sitting for new Speaker Dunne

WORKPLACE safety, light rail and tax reforms were all heatedly discussed at the new Legislative Assembly’s first Question Time today.

Vicki Dunne

First-time speaker Vicki Dunne led a fiery Assembly, drawing criticism from Minister Joy Burch for “ignoring” the Opposition’s “constant interjections.”

Opposition Leader Zed Seselja and Deputy Leader Brendan Smyth spoke over Labor ministers several times throughout the proceedings, drawing complaints from Burch that it was “hard to concentrate.”

But Dunne dismissed the interjections as “part of the proceedings.”

“I’ve seen a lot worse, this Assembly is pretty tame,” she said.

“I don’t expect everyone to sit here in silence. Members need to get used to the idea there’s going to be a bit of cut and thrust.”

During proceedings Minister Simon Corbell fended off criticism from Seselja about Canberra’s “unacceptable” work safety record in the construction industry, which has seen four deaths this year.

“This responsibility is not wholly on the Government, it is also on the employers… and there is no one reason for why things have happened the way they have,” Corbell said.

“But we are prepared to do more in our area to fix this, which is regulation and enforcement.”

Newcomer Liberals MLA Giulia Jones used her first question to grill Corbell on whether there was a guarantee no bus driver would lose their job after the light rail network is built.

“No bus driver will lose their job, in fact this is about improving frequency and reliability,” Corbell replied.

But Burch wasn’t as calm when questioned by Liberal education spokesman Steve Doszpot, failing to answer his query on whether there would be funding cuts for non-government schools.

She blamed the delay in answering on the “constant interruptions” from Smyth and Seselja, eventually replying that she had “no plans” to make cuts.

The Assembly will reconvene tomorrow.