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his comments - I hope that they have taken them to heart - concerning the problem of there being too many committees, too many tasks in too many separate baskets, so to speak, before the last Assembly. I am sure that the same sentiment applies to the First Assembly. I believe that it is important that we avoid those problems by having manageable ways of dealing with our issues.
The Chief Minister has indicated very clearly that she sees a major role for the committees in this Assembly. They will certainly have more responsibilities and more access to information than has been the case in the past. In those circumstances, it is important for the committees to be able to function efficiently and not to have members worked off their feet because they are simply serving on too many committees. Mr Berry's proposal, as originally placed before members some days ago, for example, would have had some members on our side of the chamber serving on five, six or more committees. Indeed, one member could possibly have been serving on as many as seven committees. That would be inefficient. That would not be in the interests of the efficient use of the committee system. We therefore support this model, which does not exclude any inquiry from a committee's purview, does not remove any role which any committee presently conducts, but simply organises that work on a more consistent and rational basis. It deserves the support of the house.
MR BERRY (3.44): From Mr Moore's contribution to the debate, it seems that this is not a rort; it just looks like one. That is the real problem with it. The standing orders in relation to it make it very clear. Standing order 221 says that the membership of committees should be composed of representatives of all groups and parties in the Assembly as nearly as practicable proportional to their representation in the Assembly. I should draw members' attention to the proposed membership of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment. In due course I will go back to the Planning and Environment Committee and the way that it has been compressed and the effect that that will have on the consideration of environmental matters here in the ACT. I think that is a disaster in itself.
In relation to the numbers on it, it has been conveniently reduced to take out a Labor Party person and reduce Labor's influence on the committee process. By his own admission, Mr Moore has provided for the striking out of the particular provision in the standing orders which would have allowed an extra Labor Party representative on that committee. In the course of debate over these issues this morning it became pretty apparent to me that there was a coalition at work in relation to the implementation of Mr Moore's policy. He had the Liberals on side; the deal had been done. We then had to go through the painful process of waiting until Mr Moore informed us that, as Ms Tucker has said, the numbers would prevail in any event. I have made it clear from the outset that I would oppose the compression of those two important committees - the planning committee and the environment committee - because I think it would be a disaster in environmental terms and it would take away a proper emphasis for the ACT.
I hope that the Greens will support Labor's opposition to this. I was disappointed to see that they preferred a Liberal government to a Labor government; but we did make some ground on the last motion, where we were 9 : 8 all of a sudden. So watch out, Mrs Carnell; they are coming back to us.