Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (11:55): I too would like to speak to Dr Ratnam’s motion on pairing. This is something that has been missing in this chamber—the ability for the crossbench to have a pairing process—and it became so apparent last year during COVID when we were all at risk of not being able to be in the chamber.
While we introduced, and I welcomed, the ability to contribute remotely, it still cut us out of any pairing arrangement or any way to have our position on a motion or on a bill recorded in this house. I note that that has never been a problem for the two major parties—they have always had a pairing arrangement amongst each other. Okay, it has been fraught, I understand that, and we have certainly seen that. Fraught may be an understatement there. But for the crossbench that has not been an option, and this has really weighed heavily on our minds, as I say, particularly during this pandemic when through no fault of our own we could have been in a supermarket that became an infection spot and we would not have been able to be in the chamber and we would not have been able to contribute, nor could we have had our opinion on a position recorded.
This is a really simple, sensible motion. It is largely a motion that just supports what the crossbench will be doing amongst each other, but it also opens up the opportunity for us to reach a pairing arrangement with any party here, including both major parties. I would commend—
A member interjected.
Ms PATTEN: Yes, I would just bring it to a vote. I support this motion.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Ms Ratnam’s motion 17/11/21