Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 7 April 2011) . . Page.. 1544 ..
On 25 November Mr Corbell attended a meeting of the committee chairs to discuss the original proposal and, following that meeting, a paper was prepared by the Secretariat to provide details in other jurisdictions, national, international, which have established a model for collaborative committees. The paper suggested there were no examples of the model outlined in the parliamentary agreement that would be suitable for the Assembly. However, features from collaborative models in other jurisdictions could have a role for committees and legislation development in the ACT.
A number of parliaments in other countries involve committees in the review of legislation, including New Zealand, the United States and Scotland. With the Scottish parliament in particular, the processes of the parliament have determined that it would be inappropriate for ministers to participate in committee proceedings that involve scrutiny of the executive. However, ministers attend committee meetings when proposed legislation they are responsible for is discussed.
There is a two-stage consultation process. First, the executive undertakes consultation in developing the legislation and then the committee considers the bills. There is evidence that the legislative process in Scotland involves a high degree of consensus, and decisions typically involve the agreement of all parties.
A proposal was put to the committee chairs meeting involving a process where the ministers would identify proposed laws that would go to an Assembly committee for consideration, working collaboratively with the executive. In the first instance the executive would identify proposed laws that could be referred to committees when the Chief Minister tables the autumn and spring legislation programs.
When the law was identified and nominated, the responsible minister would, firstly, move a motion in the Assembly referring the bill to the relevant standing committee and appoint the relevant minister for the inquiry’s duration; secondly, provide for relevant departmental officers to assist the committee; and, finally, arrange drafting assistance from the Office of Parliamentary Counsel. The committee would then progress the inquiry and, once completed, draft a report on the inquiry and views proposed on the bill, along with a draft bill and explanatory statement. The committee would report to the Assembly with a copy of the bill. The process could also apply to private members’ bills.
The committee chairs meeting supported trialling the process, and the suggestion was that the exposure draft of the Election Commitments Costings Bill 2011 be nominated and referred to the relevant committee. The matter then went to the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure for consideration. However, agreement was not reached to progress the committee chairs meeting’s recommendation.
This motion today seeks to refer the Election Commitments Costings Bill to the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety, appoint the Attorney-General to the committee for the duration of the inquiry and provide the appropriate resources to the committee.
Debate (on motion by Mr Hargreaves) adjourned to the next sitting.