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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1197..

MR PRATT (continuing):

Ms MacDonald, as chair, really choked things off. She was fixated here this morning with poor old Mr Mulcahy and poor old Mr Seselja. Of course those members of the committee responded in that way, having been totally choked off by a very poorly chaired committee. Mr Barr partly got it right. On the occasion that I "spat the dummy", I left my mug behind; he is quite right. In reality, I think I left two mugs behind. I include the chair, who, in mug terms, just failed to supervise—

MR SPEAKER: Order! Withdraw that. That is a personal reflection.

Mr Barr: Mr Mulcahy was left standing there holding your coffee cup.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Barr! How can I rule on these things if there are constant conversations going on? Mr Pratt, that is a personal reflection that I will not allow.

Ms MacDonald: Mr Speaker—

MR SPEAKER: Withdraw it, please.

MR PRATT: Ms MacDonald, please let me please withdraw it.

Ms MacDonald: I just want to point out—

MR SPEAKER: Ms MacDonald, sit down, please.

MR PRATT: Would you please let me withdraw. Ms MacDonald, I do withdraw "mug"and insert "Ms MacDonald". Turning to the points that I want to make, Mr Barr, in his contribution to the debate, said that perhaps Mr Smyth was concerned about balance with the committee only because he would not have confidence in the members that we were eventually able to get on to the committee. That is not the point at all. Even if there were three supermen on the committee from this side, what would be the use of that if you had, in fact, outnumbered those members of the committee? What would be the use of that? As we saw last year, the 20.2 per cent of questions which were asked by Labor were outrageous dorothy dixers. How the hell are you going to have in this place a proper inquiry into good governance in the ACT if the majority of the questions are taken up by dorothy dixers?

That is the fear and that is the concern of the opposition. I am sure that the community also will be concerned about having a committee which is not of a two-two-one breakdown, as it was last year, but of a three-two-one breakdown. That will be the concern that the community will have. The community will think that this regular committee of inquiry into the estimates has become a farce.

What is a committee of inquiry? A committee of inquiry is set up so that the members of the Assembly who represent the community of the ACT have a fair opportunity to inquire into governance and how that governance is being measured. We are not going to have that with this attempt by the government to dominate this committee. Mr Smyth is quite right: the dissenting report is probably going to be two or three times the size of the committee's final report because the committee's final report is going to be a farce. It will be a farce.

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