Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 3 June 2021) . . Page.. 1689 ..
mortgage but not at the energy costs of running a house; I’m not going to look at how much school fees might cost, or the cost of raising kids.” You cannot form a view on a budget if you are only looking at a fifth or a sixth of that budget.
There is also an impact on standing committees that needs to be considered, when we just shovel this over to the standing committees. Mr Assistant Speaker, when you look at what the standing committees already have to do, it is increasing their workload. The committees’ role is two-fold. One is to scrutinise government. We do that through annual reports hearings and so on. We also have the important role to do some deeper thinking and look at issues in detail. By involving the standing committees in this process, we are limiting the work that the committees can do, having regard to their important role in digging into more complex issues.
I will give an example of the JACS committee, on which I sit. We are doing an inquiry into the election. Normally, that is the role of a select committee. This cobbled-together government has decided to refer that to a standing committee. We now have referral of legislation to inquiries. That is new. Our committee has not been able to look at any, because of other work. That committee has the Integrity Commission function, which was previously the role of another committee. Based on the current plan, it will be conducting two estimates inquiries this year.
All of these committees have the same problem. That is just an example from my committee, which I know well. With respect to that balance regarding the scrutiny of government, those committees are being precluded from or limited in perhaps looking at other business.
My understanding is that the real reason that we are not having a select committee, or that the cobbled-together government does not want a select committee, is that the Labor and Greens backbenchers do not want to do the work. That is my understanding: they do not want to do the work. They are all busy doing their other important stuff and they are thinking, “No, I don’t want another committee to sit on; I want to do less work.”
Mr Rattenbury interjecting—
MR HANSON: Mr Rattenbury is interjecting; he does not like this, but that is the reality, and I have heard it from members. I will not out them, but they do not want to sit on more committees. They are already sitting on committees. They do not want another committee to sit on; no doubt they have better things to do, haven’t they—head off on a triathlon?
Ms Cheyne interjecting—
MR HANSON: Ms Cheyne is interjecting; she is worried about the number of committees that people sit on. My understanding, from what I have been told—it might be wrong; you can debate this—is that a lot of this was driven by you because you did not want to sit on any more committees. Maybe that is wrong; maybe that is a rumour. Maybe that is a rumour. You have only three backbenchers; I accept that.