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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 5 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1551..


Debate (on motion by Mr Wall) adjourned to the next sitting.

Administration and Procedure—Standing Committee

Reference

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (10.45): I move:

That:

(1) standing order 241 (Disclosure of proceedings, evidence and documents) be referred to the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure for inquiry and report with particular reference to be made to the practice of the New Zealand Parliament; and

(2) the Committee report back to the Assembly at the first sitting in September 2014.

Madam Speaker, as I indicated on Tuesday, both in this place and to my colleagues in the administration and procedure committee, I am moving this motion in order to allow a careful examination of issues around how information about committees is used.

This has obviously come to light as a result of discussions last week, but I think that we do have an issue here about how members of this place discuss committee processes, have political strategy conversations around committee outcomes and determine the tactics that political groupings intend to use in this place when it comes to issues from committees coming before the Assembly. I do not think these are unusual conversations; I think we could all acknowledge in this place that we have those conversations in our party rooms as we prepare for a sitting day. If we accept that premise, and I think it is a fair one, we need to have a conversation about how to acknowledge that in our standing orders.

It is my belief that our standing orders are at odds with what is probably accepted practice in this Assembly and that we could consider changes to the standing orders that would ensure protection of the privilege of committees without leaving members hamstrung in their work in the Assembly.

My proposed referral to the administration and procedures committee includes reference to the standing orders of the New Zealand parliament. Standing order 236 of the New Zealand parliament addresses the confidentiality of proceedings and the disclosure that is and is not allowed to occur between parliamentary members in the course of undertaking their duties. I believe that the New Zealand model may provide us with some guidance about changes we could consider to our own standing orders. It would acknowledge the practice in this place while maintaining the integrity of the committee's privilege. There may well be other options, but I believe the New Zealand approach provides us with a point of discussion, and one that might assist us in thinking about the best way to proceed in the Assembly.

I commend my motion to the Assembly.


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