Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 07 Hansard (Monday, 15 August 2022) . . Page.. 2495 ..
The Canberra Liberals will not be supporting Mr Gentleman’s amendment to my motion.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.27): I wish to amend this motion; therefore I move:
Omit paragraph (4)
This is just a technical amendment. It is normal procedure for committee chairs to be chosen from within the committee, and I think that that is the way that this should proceed.
MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (10.27): That is not the case. When it is a committee that is formed at the will of the Assembly, it is normally the case that the Assembly will dictate who the chair is, often by saying a member of the opposition or a member of the executive. Indeed, I think that was the case with the establishment of the scrutiny committee and the select committees on estimates and COVID. So it is the protocol.
In this case, I think because of the moving parts and the time required, often what would be said is that there be a member of the opposition, a member of the Greens and a member of the Labor Party, with the chair being a member of the opposition. Whereas, naming names, in the interest of time and the fact that other members of parties are tied up with the estimates committee, is not the protocol. So Mr Gentleman is wrong.
Secondly, when you have a situation where, Madam Speaker, as you just said, there is is a dispute between a committee and a government minister and, as you further said, the agency involved is an agency of the executive, to then consider that a member of the government would be the chair of that committee is extraordinary!
So there will be a balance of members from the government, there will be one opposition member and I think it is the precedence of this place and given the matters that will be inquired into by this privileged committee, it would need to be a member of the opposition. I am the member of the opposition that the leader of the party has selected. I am ambivalent about that, but I think that the chair would need to be someone with the necessary seniority. My argument on this point is not necessarily that it should be me but that it would certainly need to be a senior member of the opposition to do this job if it is going to perform the role that I think, or hope, that this Assembly would all agree that it needs to perform.
MR BRADDOCK (Yerrabi) (10.30): I just wanted to let the chamber know that the Greens will be supporting the motion to refer the matter to the privileges committee. The question of privilege has clearly arisen, and the standing orders set out the process for that to be addressed. I wish my colleagues well in the examination of the question, and words cannot express how much I look forward to reading the report when they have completed it. I also welcome their fresh examination of the question and wish them well in their examinations.