Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 24 March 2022) . . Page.. 584 ..
I note that I can see amendments being circulated by Mr Parton. Let me put it on the record for the Assembly that, in my enthusiasm to debate this subject, perhaps some of my language on the notice paper was a tad forceful. I take Ms Lawder’s earlier points and the points raised by Ms Orr about previous conventions in this place. I would like to flag, at the earliest instance, that we will be supporting Mr Parton’s amendments for that reason. Thank you very much.
MR PARTON (Brindabella) (11.53), by leave: I move:
1. Omit paragraph (3), substitute:
“(3) requests that the Standing Committee on Economy and Gender and Economic Equality consider investigating the legislative reforms, regulatory levers and creative mechanisms available to the ACT Government to reduce the number of vacant properties and commercial sites;”.
2. Omit paragraph (5), substitute:
“(5) requests that the Committee, should it decide to inquire into this matter, determine a reporting date based on the Committee’s capacity.”.
The small debate that we are having in this chamber today is not about the substance of what Mr Davis wants the committee to examine. It is about the conventions of this place. It is about how we do business here. It is about how we bring ideas to this chamber and to committees.
After going through Mr Davis’s motion, the Canberra Liberals formed a view that perhaps this was not the way to bring a matter like this to a committee, particularly given that Mr Davis is actually on the committee that he is referring this to. As a member of the EGEE committee, Mr Davis could very well just bring this to the committee table and seek a self-referred inquiry.
I am not on that committee, so I do not know if he has already done that. I am not sure. Indeed, from where I sit today, in terms of the knowledge that I have, it is within the realms of possibility that he has brought it to the committee and they have rejected it, so he is then of the belief that he can bring it to this chamber. I do not think that that has occurred, but it is within the realms of possibility, and I do not think it is up to the Assembly to strongarm committees and to set their agenda. Mr Davis mentioned Ms Le Couteur, who, on a number of occasions, came into this place and talked about how committees should be independent and that their agendas should not be determined by the Assembly.
There are, there have been and there will be some occasions where inquiries are referred to committees from this place. But I think that the circumstances around those particular cases have to be somewhat extraordinary. Although we all agree that there is a housing crisis that needs further examination, I am not sure that it fits the bill of this Assembly to force the committee to examine it.
My amendments, very simply, ask the committee to consider investigating the legislative reforms and regulatory levers, as described by Mr Davis. Further that, if