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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3896..


Standing committees-membership

MS DUNDAS (11.36): I move:

That:

Ms Dundas be discharged from attending the Standing Committee on Education and Mrs Cross be appointed in her place.

Ms Tucker be discharged from attending the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs and Ms Dundas be appointed in her place.

For the duration of the Standing Committee on Community Services and Social Equity's inquiry into the rights, interests and well-being of children and young people in the ACT that Committee comprise four members and, following the tabling of the Committee's report, Ms Dundas be discharged from attending the Committee.

The foregoing provisions of this resolution have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the standing orders.

Mr Speaker, this motion was drafted in response to the farcical nature of last Thursday's debate on the make-up of the Assembly's committees. That debate saw members ill prepared, the expectation being that the government and Mrs Cross would support the motion and all problems magically would be solved. No agreement was reached with the other two members of the crossbench, nor with the opposition. In despair, we had to seek adjournment of the debate.

Further discussions have taken place since then, but it appears that no resolution can be reached, so it is with some hesitancy that I bring the issue back to the chamber. My motion has been drafted with the help of the Clerk to produce the desired outcome and it has been circulated to all groupings within this chamber in an attempt to bring about a resolution.

Committee work is one element of being a member of the Legislative Assembly that I do truly enjoy. It is where the big issues can be discussed and investigated, and many points of view are raised. In my experience, there is an air of cooperation in the committees that comes from spending time with members from all parties and hearing the views of all of those parties, as well as inviting the community to express directly to members of the Assembly and bodies of the Assembly their views on what is happening in the ACT.

The committee make-up of one government, one opposition and one crossbench member has served this Assembly well. Even in the estimates hearings, with two government, two opposition and one crossbench member, I felt that all views were able to be represented strongly. I am sure that the government and opposition backbench members will agree that there is an expectation-"requirement" is too strong a word-that the backbench and crossbench members will carry out more committee work than the MLAs who are tied up with other duties.

Now, one year into this Assembly, the crossbench has been expanded by one. This is a situation that none of us foresaw-neither Mrs Cross nor Ms Tucker or I. For Ms Tucker and me, the crossbench has been reconfigured through decisions not of our making. This has meant changes to office locations and changes to the Assembly and


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