Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 2 Hansard (10 March) . . Page.. 714..
The Assembly voted—
Ayes 6: Mr Barr Ms Burch Mr Corbell Ms Gallagher Mr Hargreaves Mr Stanhope
Noes 9: Ms Bresnan Mr Coe Mr Doszpot Mrs Dunne Mr Hanson Ms Hunter Ms Le Couteur Mr Rattenbury Mr Smyth
Question so resolved in the negative.
MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (11.03), by leave, I move the following amendment:
Omit paragraph (3), substitute:
"(3) a non-government Member shall be elected chair of the Committee by the Committee;".
I will just speak very briefly to this. I take the point Mr Hargreaves has made but I think it is important that we do have a non-government member as the chair of the estimates committee, particularly because it is about the examination of the budget and because of the very fact that it is a budget put forward by the government. Mr Seselja chaired the committee for 2009-10 and Ms Hunter chaired the committee last year for the 2010-11 budget. So I think it is important that we have that process where we have a non-government member chairing the committee.
I will just make a point too on this particular part of the motion for Mr Smyth. I do not know what to call it—it is not really sneaky—but it was obviously a bit cheeky probably to put in that it had to be an opposition member. We know that there was much pouting and carrying on from Mr Seselja when he missed out on the chair last year, so obviously that is where that has come from. There is a bit of that going on, I guess.
But I still hope that the government will support this amendment because I think it is important that we do have a non-government member in the chair, and I would expect the opposition would support it anyway because it is about having a non-government member as chair of the committee. I do hope we receive support for this.
MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella) (11.04): Half of something is better than nothing, or something like that. But I do have a question about this. We have got, according to Mr Smyth's motion, a five-member committee. We have now taken one of the people out of contention, for the position of chair. We will have, I presume, two members of the Greens, two members of the Liberal Party. I ask members to contemplate: what would happen if the government member abstained from the vote for the chair? You would have two all, and we will see what happens.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (11.05): I am not sure if that is a veiled threat, Mr Speaker, but we will wait and see, no doubt, what Mr Hargreaves will do. For as long as I can recall, the opposition put forward the chair of the estimates committee. When we were in government I think Mr Quinlan did it four years in a row as the Treasury spokesperson for the opposition—indeed when there was a variety of crossbenchers that may or may not have done it.