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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 2 Hansard (20 March) . . Page.. 592..

Administration and Procedure—Standing Committee

Report 1

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (10.23): Pursuant to order I present the following report:

Administration and Procedure—Standing Committee—Report 1—Inquiry into standing orders relating to the consideration of Committee reports, dated 18 March 2014, together with a copy of the extracts of the relevant minutes of proceedings.

I move:

That the report be adopted.

This is an important report from the administration and procedures committee. Although it is not usual for the Speaker to speak in this place on these things, it was the general view of the administration and procedures committee that I should present this report and make some comments on it.

The motion before us today is that we adopt the report. If we adopt the report, we will automatically bring about changes to the standing orders as outlined in recommendations 1, 2 and 3 on page 4 of the report.

We are here today debating this because in this Assembly, the Eighth Assembly, we have had considerable problems with the committee system. I recall that during the estimates committee or maybe the annual report hearings last year, Dr Bourke quizzed me because I had mentioned in passing that I thought there were problems with the committee system. If he did not think that there were problems with the committee system back last year, I think his own experiences on committees since then would have reinforced the reason why we are here today.

I am speaking not as a member of the Liberal Party but as the Speaker. I am expressing my concerns as the Speaker as to what is going on in the committee system at the moment. I am concerned about the reputation of this Assembly and its capacity to do work; I am concerned about the problems that are being created for the staff of the committee office because of what I have characterised as the gaming of the standing orders by members on both sides in this place; and I am concerned at the impact this has on submitters and the continuing good reputation of the committee system in the ACT Legislative Assembly.

I think it was brought to a head by the failure of the standing committee on regional affairs to be able to report. I, for one, sitting in the chair watching the unedifying "He said," "She said" across the chamber about who was responsible for this, was appalled and mortified. I kept thinking of all the mayors and the corporations around us in the regions who had held out some hope that there would be good resolutions out of this inquiry. There were none. It really brought home to me that it is unfair to all of those people and all those other submitters who put good time and effort into making submissions on a couple of occasions to have a deadlocked committee where nothing could be resolved.

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