Question Time in the ACT Legislative Assembly was an odd affair this afternoon. The mixed tape of old and new songs from the floor rehashed ancient disputes and addressed some fresh ones – but all slightly out of synch with the Chief Minister’s absence.
Before the bells had finished ringing Liberal MLA Jeremy Hanson was at the throat of Acting Chief Minister Katy Gallagher.
“Like the space Katy? Don’t get too comfortable or he’ll come back.” Hanson yelled across the chamber.
“Did you get a postcard?” he asked.
The Assembly covered a cap on worker’s compensation via a speech Corbell made in 2006; services available to youth leaving Bimberi Dention Centre; the wind down costs of Rhodium; the city cycle loop and the Greater Canberra City Area Action Plan; traffic conjestion tax (no it is not being considered right now); homelessness; rental affordability; the “big new tax” also known as the change-of-use charge; the Murray Darling guide; and Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s Regional Hospital Fund photo shoot at Canberra Hospital when the ACT hasn’t got any regional hospital funding.
Answers were unsurprising, but Labor Whip John Hargreaves stepped out of his Dorothy Dixer guise to ask what is actually rather a good question.
On the subject of accreditation for disability services in the Greater Canberra Region, Johnno asked if given the absence of national standards, whether there was any conflict between the ACT and NSW.
When Minister Joy Burch stumbled on the answer (which she clearly did not know) Opposition Leader Zed Seselja helpfully told the Speaker: “I’d ask you to ask the Minister to answer the Dorothy Dixer.”
While Stanhope ambles across the Continent on a bicycle the Assembly riff-raff are losing their way, confused about protocol when Corbell is placed to answer a question, but Gallagher the supplementary.
Speaker Shane Rattenbury managed to juggle the baffled expressions of our Territory’s politicians well, even subduing Opposition Deputy Brendan Smyth regarding yesterday’s drama over using the term “jellyback” to describe members of parliament.
“You made a fair point,” Rattenbury said, “And the word will be considered unparliamentary in the future.”
He even asked the Labor members to remind their chief of this when he returns.
So goodbye, jellyback.