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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1191..


Mr Barr: He needs to be on it.

MR HARGREAVES: He needs to be on it and he should be on it, but he probably will not be on it. I hope that Mr Pratt will be on it because that would mean that there would not be too much opposition there. We are left with Mrs Burke.

Mrs Burke: You forgot Mr Mulcahy.

MR HARGREAVES: I do not know where Mr Mulcahy is. He is out looking for a friend. I would like to see Mrs Burke go there for more than 15 minutes in the whole process. It would be really wonderful if she were a member of it. Mr Speaker, I urge the Assembly the support Mr Corbell because he is actually talking commonsense and the people opposite are not.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.30): Mr Speaker, what we have here today with the amendment by Mr Corbell to which I am speaking is a continuation of the "since we have become a majority Stanhope government, we can do what we like with the committee system"saga. Mr Speaker, cast your mind back to what happened last year when I was put in a position where I had to write to you about a matter of privilege, which you disagreed with me about. We actually got to the situation where there was such conniving about the chairmanship of the committee that members of this place raised seriously with you a matter of privilege.

What happened last time was that, departing from all precedent, the government decided that it needed to chair a committee of this Assembly. I am not talking about a committee of the commonwealth parliament or any other parliament; it was a committee of this Assembly. Until last year, it had never been the case in this Assembly that a government member had chaired an estimates committee. The government decided that it needed to chair the committee because it was worried about the sort of scrutiny that it would receive for its budget. What happened was that, even though there were two government members on the committee and the government had the chairmanship, the government still could not control things. Its members could not organise a chook raffle in a pub on a Friday night.

Ms MacDonald: Weren't you in Spain at the time? How would you know?

MS DUNNE: No, I was not in Spain at the time. I withdraw that, Mr Speaker; I was in Spain at the time. I am also honest when I make a mistake, Ms MacDonald. The clear outcome of last year's estimates committee process was that the government, even though it had the chairmanship, was in turmoil. In fact, the dissenting comments made by opposition members were so significant that they almost outweighed the comments made by the committee itself.

Mr Seselja: That was good work. They were hardworking dissenters.

MRS DUNNE: Mr Seselja and Mr Mulcahy were hardworking members of the estimates committee. What the government is going to do this year is to ensure that the estimates committee is closed down. Mr Smyth touched on some of the problems that arose. He said that it would be difficult if there were a matter of contention. I have sat on


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