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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 December 2020) . . Page.. 68 ..


that recommendation on admin and procedures last term, the actual wording, I accept, having now had the conversation with Mr Hanson and reread it, could read “a minimum of two months for the committee to do its work in a maximum of six months”. I do not think we really concluded in the last Assembly how long the committee should work for. We flagged that it needed to be, probably, in our minds, at least two months and possibly up to six months.

The Greens hold the view that we do want to see a process that is a bit quicker. I think it is different to an issues inquiry, where it takes a broad remit and looks at an issue in great depth, which is what the committees traditionally do. Instead, I think that the committees need to develop a different pattern in looking at the legislation.

Mr Parton: You want scrutiny but not great scrutiny.

MR RATTENBURY: If you look at the Senate, for example—and Mr Parton is freely interjecting, probably without any governance research—the Senate regularly puts legislation through its committees in six to eight weeks because there is a different pattern to looking at bills, where you are looking at a much more specific issue, potentially.

If a committee wants to seek an exemption, they can seek to do that and, as Mr Hanson highlighted in his comments, that will then come to the floor of this chamber, where there can be a vote if necessary. If the committee comes back and makes the case and says, “Actually this has proved to be really complex; we’ve had a large number of submissions,” so be it.

But I think we should set an expectation that we also want to keep the legislative program moving in this place. Some bills will not be that complex; they will require a very specific area of work. I think that is the process we need to work on through the committees over the next while, and if there is a concern then the admin and procedures committee can look at this. But I think we should put it upon ourselves to look to the examples like the Senate and seek to keep the program rolling quite well. That is why we are not proposing to support Mr Hanson’s amendment today.

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra—Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Business and Better Regulation, Minister for Human Rights and Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (12.01): I felt it was necessary for me to speak, given that I probably spoke the most of anybody in the last parliamentary term about my desire for standing committees to review the budget, rather than a standalone estimates committee. I think the last time I spoke about it, but perhaps not, I said that I was resigned to this being pursued in the next term of parliament, which we now find ourselves in.

So I am very pleased that there has been a willingness across all three parties to try it a bit differently, to try it like it is being done in the commonwealth Senate, where we have standing committees which, over time, will become the experts in those particular areas, rather than having to have a group of people who might not necessarily be as interested in, or have the depth of knowledge on, come together for a


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