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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 4 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 900..

MR SPEAKER: Order! There is plenty of time for people to speak in this debate. Please let Ms MacDonald speak uninterrupted.

MS MacDONALD: Thank you, Mr Speaker. That is why we acknowledge that the opposition and the cross bench have a right as far as keeping the government accountable for the day is concerned. There will be two members from the government but there will be three non-government members on the committee. Where is the concern? Where is the problem? What is the real problem here? Is the problem that the opposition will not be getting the money for being the committee chair? Is that what the problem is? Is that what the real issue is, Mr Speaker? That is what I would be considering. There is no reason why the opposition and the cross bench cannot keep the government accountable without holding the chair.

Mr Smyth: Well, why are you so desperate to have the chair? Why don't you give a positive reason as to why you should have the chair?

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Smyth, if you want to be able to participate in the debate it would be a good idea to cease interjecting.

MS MacDONALD: The fact is that we could choose to have three members of the government and just two members of the opposition, and not involve Dr Foskey, but the government did not feel that that was appropriate. We believe that Dr Foskey does have a role to play in a unicameral parliament. We are glad to see that she will actually be on the committee.

Those are some of the reasons for the amendment. In the last couple of years, we have heard the opposition say that the sky would fall in if they did not chair the estimates committee.

Mr Smyth: I don't think anyone has said that. You might want to check Hansard.

MS MacDONALD: We have had two years when the committee has been chaired by a government member.

Opposition members interjecting-

MS MacDONALD: Mr Speaker, I cannot hear myself speak. We have had two years-

Mr Pratt: We've been too focused on chooks lately.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Pratt, please.

Ms MacDONALD: We have had two years when the opposition has not had the chair. The committee has been chaired by a government member and estimates has proceeded. People have had the opportunity to come down, ask questions-

Mrs Dunne: In camera hearings of estimates-

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