Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 4 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 899..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
Mr Speaker, the motion is self-explanatory; it is in accordance with the standard annual practice of the Assembly in terms of proposition, nomination procedures and report timing. If it is successful, nominations will be submitted to you by 4 pm.
I was told just a few minutes ago that Ms MacDonald is going to move an amendment. I think it is along the same lines as one moved last year-that the committee chair shall be held by a government member. This gets back to the issue which we have been pushing all this week in relation to accountable government. Over the 18 or so years that this Assembly has been going-
MR SPEAKER: Mr Stefaniak, it might be better if you speak to the motion after the amendment has been moved.
MR STEFANIAK: It might be. Mr Speaker, I commend my motion to the Assembly.
MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (10.59): The government will be supporting Mr Stefaniak's motion but we will be proposing an amendment that a new paragraph 4A be inserted to the effect that the committee chair shall be held by a government member. I move:
After paragraph (4), insert:
"(4A) the Committee Chair shall be held by a Government Member; and".
MR SPEAKER: I take it that the amendment has been circulated.
Mrs Burke: It has.
MS MacDONALD: I am going to anticipate the arguments that will be put forward by the opposition; I imagine that they will be the same as last year. The reason we are doing this is as follows. We on the government side did have a conversation about the best way to move forward with this and whether we should actually have all of the government non-executive members, excluding the Speaker, on the estimates committee. We tried that last year; we had all three backbenchers on the estimates committee. We also had two members of the opposition and Dr Foskey as the crossbencher. We ended up having problems because of having an even number. There were issues with that. The opposition will argue that this is a travesty, that it is terrible, that they do not get a chair-blah, blah, blah. This will be the third year that this government, a majority government, has had the chair. In every other parliament in this country where there is a majority government, the government holds the position of chair of the estimates committee.
Mrs Burke: It is a unicameral parliament.
MS MacDONALD: Mrs Burke says it is a unicameral parliament. That is true; it is a unicameral parliament. We acknowledge that. That is why Dr Foskey is on the estimates committee.
Opposition members interjecting-