Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (13:51): I would like to rise to speak to the substantive motion but also Dr Ratnam’s amendment, which I have to say was a bit of a team effort. I almost feel still out of breath from some of the running around that has occurred over the last 24 hours in finding a compromise position to enable in particular the crossbench to have their opinions recorded when they are not able to be in the chamber to do so, and we know that this is coming. We know that any number of us may find ourselves in a tier 2 spot or a tier 1 spot or, hopefully never, find ourselves COVID positive—or whatever reason. So I think this a good step in the right direction in doing that.
I do not share Mr Davis’s concerns about being stabbed with a knife just off camera on the TV screen or something. I think we have managed. Certainly we have seen in the last 12 months in our committee process that we have been able to deliberate on reports. We have been able to conduct ourselves voting even in an online fashion, which has been effective and which has not been questioned.
I thank the clerks, and I read with interest the President’s report because I thought that it went a long way into seeing online voting and seeing us being able to operate very effectively if we had to from remote locations. So I look forward to continuing to work in this. I do want to be able to see the crossbench being able to pair in the future, and I would like to see that in a formal arrangement, not just for us, because I think some of the concerns about the crossbench pairing were that you would not know what was happening. And so in some ways us codifying our processes actually enables the greatest transparency to see that, which in the traditional pairing that occurs between the major parties is obvious because of the remaining members in the chamber. For single-member parties like me and like Dr Ratnam and for Independents like Dr Cumming that is not as clear. With those words, I commend the amendment and support the substantive motion.
Amendment agreed to; amended motion agreed to.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Motion moved by Ms Symes 15/9/21