Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 15 February 2005 2005) . . Page.. 426 ..
and have two or three people who claim that their major role was keeping the bastards honest. There were too many bastards keeping the bastards honest, I think, and not enough bastards actually doing something. I would like to think that we are all here to be working positively for good government in the territory.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill agreed to in principle.
Clauses 1 to 5, by leave, taken together and agreed to.
Proposed new clauses 6 and 7.
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (5.07): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name, which inserts new clauses 6 and 7 [see schedule 1 at page 447].
Mr Speaker, I foreshadowed that there was an area of some concern that I had in relation to the very issue of accountability. There is a matter of some debate as to whether this would intersect with other powers of the Assembly to produce papers, documents and so forth. But on the basis of advice I have taken, to remove any doubt at all, this amendment should be incorporated. I have signalled this to the government in the hope that it will support this amendment because I think it is consistent still with the spirit of the legislation, but it continues to ensure that the Assembly and its committees have the opportunity, if required—and terms can be determined—to review such confidential material, as has happened in other situations in this Assembly.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.08): I want to speak briefly to the fact that I will be supporting the amendment. It probably is not necessary. It would seem that a committee can already call for papers which include confidential information and that it would be expected to view such material in camera. If that is the way that it works, then we can probably be assured that this bill will not lessen the scrutiny that we would like the Assembly to have over government contracts and operations. On the other hand, given that the government can add, by regulation, any other matters to the lists of confidential items, and that those matters are not yet determined, I see no harm in explicitly stating that the power of committees to call for papers is not limited by these provisions of the act.
MR QUINLAN (Molonglo—Treasurer and Minister for Economic Development) (5.09): The government will not accept this amendment, for pretty obvious reasons. Dr Foskey has said she is going to support it even though it is unnecessary. We will not be supporting it because it is unnecessary. So we are in agreement as to the necessity for it. I have an oral opinion, on the fly, from the Auditor-General—oral opinion, of course, is not worth the paper it is written on. Nevertheless, it advises me that it is entirely superfluous.
The power and the right of committees to call for such information are at the core of the Westminster system and go back several centuries or something. I see the Clerk nodding. If we start down the path of putting into our legislation superfluous clauses, just for their