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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1233..


Mr Pratt: You're wasting your time.

MR HARGREAVES: You are deaf as well. You are only talking loudly because you cannot hear yourself, you deaf twit—deaf, deaf. Further on, it says:

Some resolutions of appointment have provided that the Prime Minister 'nominate' or 'appoint' one of the government members of the committee as chair. The resolution of appointment of the Joint Standing Committee on the New Parliament House provided for the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate to be joint chairs of the committee.

We have already dealt with the joint chairs. Nothing that has been put forward by way of motion to this chamber today is inconsistent. Your ruling has to be upheld, Mr Speaker. We need to just get on and do this.

The standing orders, as I have said before, are a reflection of the will of this Assembly, and the motion that has been put before you by Mr Smyth is a further extension of that will, and the amendment put by Mr Corbell amends that motion to reflect the will of this Assembly. So, Mr Speaker, with respect, I think that we should treat this motion as a load of rot.

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (4.13): I just want to take us back to page 631 of House of Representatives Practice and to our own standing orders relating to committees. Mr Corbell stands in this place as manager of government business to say that he, being the government, can override any decision of committees. But we have not done this in the past. I take it from my colleagues who have been here much longer than I have that Mr Corbell now is trying to set a precedent.

Today, we have had the manager of government business doing amendments on the run—and this is just another one. People are quoting this, and people are right: on standing order 232 (a), House of Representatives Practice begins with the words "before the start of business". I remind you, Mr Speaker, that I am quoting from House of Representatives Practice under the heading of "Committees". If we wanted to say standing orders for the Assembly, let us just do away with all the headings; let us forget the headings; let us not even bother. That is what Mr Corbell is dangerously doing in this place today—setting a precedent to say, "We can override anything that we want to override."

That is the issue before us. Mr Corbell is quite right: the government can appoint their own chair. I am not arguing that. My issue is with the point before that: his motion and your ruling, sir, I believe fly in the face of what we are supposed to be doing in this place today, and that is to not go to the point of electing a chair or a deputy chair or whatever. That is the job of the committee, once the committee is established. I say again: at this point what is proposed has not been done in this chamber before; we are setting a dangerous precedent.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (4.15), in reply: I thank Mr Hargreaves for reading House of Representatives Practice, where it says quite clearly that standing order 232 provides: "Before the start of business, a committee shall elect a


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