Business Motion

– in the Scottish Parliament at 4:59 pm on 17th November 2004.

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Photo of George Reid George Reid None 4:59 pm, 17th November 2004

The next item of business is consideration of business motion S2M-2018, in the name of Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, setting out a business programme, and an amendment to the motion. Any member who wishes to speak against the motion should press their request-to-speak button now.

Motion moved,

That the Parliament agrees the following programme of business— Wednesday 24 November 2004

2.30 pm Time for Reflection followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions followed by Executive Debate on Green Jobs followed by Business Motion followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by Members' Business Thursday 25 November 2004

9.30 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions followed by Scottish Green Party Debate on Food 12 noon First Minister's Question Time

2.00 pm Question Time— Enterprise, Lifelong Learning and Transport; Justice and Law Officers; General Questions

3.00 pm Executive Debate on Violence Against Women followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by Members' Business Wednesday 1 December 2004

2.30 pm Time for Reflection followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions followed by Public Petitions Committee Debate on Public Petition PE535 followed by Business Motion followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by Members' Business Thursday 2 December 2004

9.30 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions followed by Executive Business 12 noon First Minister's Question Time

2.00 pm Question Time— Education and Young People, Tourism, Culture and Sport; Finance and Public Services and Communities; General Questions

3.00 pm Executive Business followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by Members' Business—[Ms Margaret Curran.]

Photo of George Reid George Reid None

I call on Bill Aitken to speak to and move amendment S2M-2018.1.

Photo of Bill Aitken Bill Aitken Conservative

Some six weeks ago, Parliament waited with considerable anticipation for what would have been the first major statement by the newly appointed Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform, Tom McCabe. That statement was to be on efficiency in local government. However, for perfectly justifiable and understandable reasons to do with differing parliamentary priorities at that stage, the statement was pulled.

Since then, however, there has been no statement; it has disappeared, and although the matter has been queried from time to time, there is still nothing forthcoming from the Executive on whether or not we will have the opportunity to listen to what Mr McCabe has to say and, more important, whether we will have the opportunity to question him.

The matter could have been allowed to rest had it not become somewhat more urgent. I quote from today's edition of The Herald, which carries the headline, "Council payroll tops 250,000 as 19 people a day are recruited", followed by a story that highlights how additional staff have been recruited by local authorities in recent times, to the extent that a significant number of people in Scotland are employed in the public sector and particularly by councils.

Members:

Yes.

Photo of Bill Aitken Bill Aitken Conservative

Ah, yes. That is indicative of the public sector thinking that predominates in this Parliament. Mr McConnell may say that there are extra police, but we are certainly not seeing the results of having all those extra police, are we?

Yesterday, when the Parliamentary Bureau considered the business programme, there was no mention of a statement from Mr McCabe and there is to be no statement next week from Mr McCabe.

Although there is a slot in the following week, I doubt very much that we shall hear a statement from Mr McCabe then. That is why I lodged my amendment today, although there are other interesting figures.

The question of violence against women is a serious one—[Interruption.] Although it may be a matter for jocularity for Mr Stone, for the rest of us it is most certainly not. However, debates on domestic violence, domestic abuse and violence against women are not unknown in this chamber, nor should they be.

Photo of Carolyn Leckie Carolyn Leckie SSP

Women are still getting hammered.

Photo of Bill Aitken Bill Aitken Conservative

When I asked yesterday, I was told that there was an international dimension to the debate, which may bring some more information before Parliament and may be something on which we wish to express a view. I suggest today not that the debate be scrapped, but simply that it be curtailed to allow time for Mr McCabe's statement, for which we have now been waiting for six weeks. Surely there is nothing new to be said on domestic violence—we all totally abhor it. Surely no one in this chamber will say that they approve of it, so what is the purpose of a two-hour debate? Let us have an hour-and-a-quarter debate to enable the international aspect of the matter to be dealt with, and let us get down to business that would have perhaps a more immediate impact—local government services and the soaring number of people who are employed in the public sector.

I move amendment S2M-2018.1, to leave out

"3.00 pm Executive Debate on Violence Against Women" and insert

"3.00 pm Ministerial Statement on Efficient Government

3.45 pm Executive Debate on Violence Against Women"

Photo of George Reid George Reid None

Mr Rumbles wishes to speak against the motion.

Photo of Mike Rumbles Mike Rumbles Liberal Democrat 5:03 pm, 17th November 2004

We recently had a very important debate on domestic violence against women. Ministers are now advocating another debate on violence against women next week. I am concerned that we are sending the wrong message to other victims of violence, notably children and men. I believe that it would be absurd to have separate debates for those victims, and I do not advocate such exclusive debate.

However, I hope that the Minister for Parliamentary Business will schedule a debate soon in which we can practise what we are supposed to preach here in the Scottish Parliament. We need an inclusive approach and we need equality of treatment; a victim is a victim is a victim. Surely we need to schedule a debate that shows that we as a Parliament acknowledge that violence in all its forms and against any victim—man, woman or child—is wrong, and we need a less exclusive approach when we choose such important topics for future debates.

Photo of Margaret Curran Margaret Curran Labour 5:04 pm, 17th November 2004

I am grateful for the opportunity to respond; I shall deal with each speech in turn. I find it sad that I have to say this, but it comes as no surprise that the Tories seek to cut back the time that we have to debate violence against women. Bill Aitken's speech revealed the Tories' lack of understanding of the issue and certainly revealed how they prioritise it. If Bill Aitken thinks that we have said all that there is to say on domestic abuse, he is sadly mistaken and there is not a victim of domestic abuse in Scotland who would concur with his view.

Much more has to be said. For the record, I clarify for Mike Rumbles and Bill Aitken, who demonstrated their lack of familiarity with the subject, that there is a distinction to be made between domestic abuse and the broader issue of violence against women, which includes sexual abuse, rape and such like. The problem is extraordinarily important and widespread and it commands great attention and focus. That is why no less a body than the United Nations has said that a day in November will be the international day for the elimination of violence against women. I hate to tell Mike Rumbles and Bill Aitken this, but Governments from all round the world have associated themselves with that day and with that campaign.

I say with all sincerity that it is to Bill Aitken's considerable disgrace that on this matter he finds himself out of step with all the leading Governments in the world; it dishonours him to use the subject to make such a cheap political point. We are happy to talk about the great number of staff that we employ, including teachers, social workers and police. The Conservatives usually suggest that we should employ them.

Photo of Margaret Curran Margaret Curran Labour

I make it clear to Mr McLetchie that the Executive will bring issues to Parliament when we think that it is appropriate to do so. We will not be manipulated by cheap debating points that are made by the Tories.

I turn to the points that were made by Mike Rumbles. He has raised those points with me and many others on a number of occasions. I say to him that Parliament has spoken on the issue with considerable majorities year in and year out; still, he continues to raise the same points. The points that he made today reveal a deep misunderstanding of the issue. First, I do not think that he recognises the scale of the problem of violence against women in Scotland. There seems to be a false dichotomy in his mind; he suggests that our discussing violence against women means somehow that we cannot discuss violence against men or violence against children. That is illogical. A person's being pro-woman does not make him or her anti-man. That has been the politics that we have always been associated with.

I urge Parliament to agree to the business motion today and to let this Parliament—the newest Parliament in the world—take its place proudly in saying, on the day that the United Nations has designated as the international day for the elimination of violence against women, that we are determined to tackle violence against women.

Photo of George Reid George Reid None

There are now two questions to be put. The first question is, that amendment S2M-2018.1, in the name of Bill Aitken, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 1

For: Aitken, Bill, Brocklebank, Mr Ted, Davidson, Mr David, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Fergusson, Alex, Fraser, Murdo, Gallie, Phil, Johnstone, Alex, McGrigor, Mr Jamie, McLetchie, David, Milne, Mrs Nanette, Mitchell, Margaret, Monteith, Mr Brian, Mundell, David, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Tosh, Murray
Against: Alexander, Ms Wendy, Baillie, Jackie, Baird, Shiona, Baker, Richard, Ballance, Chris, Ballard, Mark, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brown, Robert, Butler, Bill, Byrne, Ms Rosemary, Canavan, Dennis, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Curran, Frances, Curran, Ms Margaret, Deacon, Susan, Eadie, Helen, Ferguson, Patricia, Finnie, Ross, Fox, Colin, Gillon, Karen, Glen, Marlyn, Godman, Trish, Gorrie, Donald, Harper, Robin, Harvie, Patrick, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Kane, Rosie, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Leckie, Carolyn, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lyon, George, Macdonald, Lewis, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, Maclean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, May, Christine, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McConnell, Mr Jack, McMahon, Michael, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Munro, John Farquhar, Murray, Dr Elaine, Oldfather, Irene, Peacock, Peter, Peattie, Cathy, Pringle, Mike, Purvis, Jeremy, Radcliffe, Nora, Raffan, Mr Keith, Robson, Euan, Rumbles, Mike, Ruskell, Mr Mark, Scott, Eleanor, Scott, Tavish, Sheridan, Tommy, Smith, Elaine, Smith, Iain, Smith, Margaret, Stone, Mr Jamie, Swinburne, John, Turner, Dr Jean, Wallace, Mr Jim, Watson, Mike, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan
Abstentions: Adam, Brian, Cunningham, Roseanna, Ewing, Fergus, Ewing, Mrs Margaret, Gibson, Rob, Grahame, Christine, Hyslop, Fiona, Ingram, Mr Adam, Lochhead, Richard, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, Marwick, Tricia, Mather, Jim, Matheson, Michael, Maxwell, Mr Stewart, McFee, Mr Bruce, Morgan, Alasdair, Neil, Alex, Robison, Shona, Stevenson, Stewart, Sturgeon, Nicola, Swinney, Mr John, Welsh, Mr Andrew

Photo of George Reid George Reid None

The result of the division is: For 17, Against 81, Abstentions 22.

Amendment disagreed to.

Photo of George Reid George Reid None

The second question is, that motion S2M-2018, in the name of Margaret Curran, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 2

For: Alexander, Ms Wendy, Baillie, Jackie, Baird, Shiona, Baker, Richard, Ballance, Chris, Ballard, Mark, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brown, Robert, Butler, Bill, Byrne, Ms Rosemary, Canavan, Dennis, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Curran, Frances, Curran, Ms Margaret, Deacon, Susan, Eadie, Helen, Ferguson, Patricia, Finnie, Ross, Fox, Colin, Gillon, Karen, Glen, Marlyn, Godman, Trish, Gorrie, Donald, Harper, Robin, Harvie, Patrick, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Kane, Rosie, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Leckie, Carolyn, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lyon, George, Macdonald, Lewis, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, Maclean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, May, Christine, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McConnell, Mr Jack, McMahon, Michael, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Munro, John Farquhar, Murray, Dr Elaine, Oldfather, Irene, Peacock, Peter, Peattie, Cathy, Pringle, Mike, Purvis, Jeremy, Radcliffe, Nora, Raffan, Mr Keith, Robson, Euan, Rumbles, Mike, Ruskell, Mr Mark, Scott, Eleanor, Scott, Tavish, Sheridan, Tommy, Smith, Elaine, Smith, Iain, Smith, Margaret, Stone, Mr Jamie, Swinburne, John, Turner, Dr Jean, Wallace, Mr Jim, Watson, Mike, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan
Against: Aitken, Bill, Brocklebank, Mr Ted, Davidson, Mr David, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Fergusson, Alex, Fraser, Murdo, Gallie, Phil, Johnstone, Alex, McGrigor, Mr Jamie, McLetchie, David, Milne, Mrs Nanette, Mitchell, Margaret, Monteith, Mr Brian, Mundell, David, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Tosh, Murray
Abstentions: Adam, Brian, Cunningham, Roseanna, Ewing, Fergus, Ewing, Mrs Margaret, Gibson, Rob, Grahame, Christine, Hyslop, Fiona, Ingram, Mr Adam, Lochhead, Richard, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, Marwick, Tricia, Mather, Jim, Matheson, Michael, Maxwell, Mr Stewart, McFee, Mr Bruce, Morgan, Alasdair, Neil, Alex, Robison, Shona, Stevenson, Stewart, Sturgeon, Nicola, Swinney, Mr John, Welsh, Mr Andrew

Photo of George Reid George Reid None

The result of the division is: For 81, Against 17, Abstentions 22.

Motion agreed to.

That the Parliament agrees the following programme of business— Wednesday 24 November 2004

2.30 pm Time for Reflection followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions followed by Executive Debate on Green Jobs followed by Business Motion followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by Members' Business Thursday 25 November 2004

9.30 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions followed by Scottish Green Party Debate on Food 12 noon First Minister's Question Time

2.00 pm Question Time— Enterprise, Lifelong Learning and Transport; Justice and Law Officers; General Questions

3.00 pm Executive Debate on Violence Against Women followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by Members' Business Wednesday 1 December 2004

2.30 pm Time for Reflection followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions followed by Public Petitions Committee Debate on Public Petition PE535 followed by Business Motion followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by Members' Business Thursday 2 December 2004

9.30 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions followed by Executive Business 12 noon First Minister's Question Time

2.00 pm Question Time— Education and Young People, Tourism, Culture and Sport; Finance and Public Services and Communities; General Questions

3.00 pm Executive Business followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by Members' Business