Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (12:28): I do think it is disappointing that we are here with the same temporary orders. I was hopeful at the last sitting that we would have been able to progress adequate ways for us to meet in a more fulsome way.
I am pleased and I have no reason to doubt that the government does want to sit and that the government does want to progress its legislative agenda. In fact we have nine bills sitting on our notice paper today. But I do express some frustration that we are not moving more quickly on this.
This has been a situation that we have been aware of since March, and I do think that we could have moved further on this. Other jurisdictions have done that. I think it is incredibly important that parliaments do sit at this time. Not that I have to remind the people in this chamber, but for those who might be listening: the Parliament is not the government; the Parliament is here as oversight. It is why the Parliament was established, and it is why it is so important in these times.
I would like to reiterate Mr Davis’s comments about the advice that we have received from the chief health officer, and while I have a great deal of respect for Professor Sutton, I do note that yesterday there was an expanded list of permitted workers put onto the DHHS website.
When you go to the question, ‘Can I travel from areas which are in stage 3 to areas that are in stage 4 and return?’, the advice is very different to the advice that regional MPs in this chamber received. It speaks about carpooling. It speaks about practising good hygiene and social distancing in their workplaces. It talks about being careful of their families and looking after them. It does not say, ‘You must self-isolate for 14 days away from your family if you return to your home’.
So I think the contradictions in those two pieces of advice are troubling, but I am hopeful from the conversations that we have had with the clerks and from the conversations with the Presiding Officers, with the government and with the opposition and the crossbench that we will be able to meet fulsomely in September and that we will have a full contingent of representation, albeit maybe not in this chamber—maybe remotely, as all of us are becoming so adept at. But I guess I would urge all of us to work together so that this is the last time that we debate these temporary orders.