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not the other way round, and it is the business of the Assembly - not of the Government, no matter how enthusiastic - to make decisions on the number, the nature and the composition of the Assembly committees.

I have heard member after member saying how important the committee process in this parliament has been. We have all said it. But what we are hearing today, on the part of Mr Moore and the Liberals, is that the importance of the committees to this Assembly, and therefore to the people of Canberra, is about to be abandoned in favour of their own personal interests. Mr Speaker, I find that an indefensible stance on the first sitting day of a new Assembly - the very first day. It is totally indefensible. If those are the depths to which Mr Moore is prepared to plunge in order to get his way on committees, I think it is a despicable course of action. I repeat, Mr Speaker, that the Assembly's committee system is a matter for the Assembly. It is not the province of the Government. I think that to deny that principle is a very backward step and it augurs very poorly indeed for the coming three years.

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (3.59): Mr Speaker, I am proud that on our first day in government we have handed back to the Assembly, away from the Government, control of the committees. What we have done is to give up a member and give that membership to the Independents. The Independents - or the non-Government, non-Labor people in this Assembly - have one extra person.

Ms Follett: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: I notice that Mrs Carnell excludes Labor from the non-Government members. That is the whole basis of this problem.

MRS CARNELL: That was an unusual point of order. I am proud that what we are doing here is ensuring that everyone in this Assembly has equal representation and that the Government is not attempting to control the committee process. For that reason we will support the motion. The fact is that there is one Liberal, one Labor, one Independent and one member of the Greens. How much fairer can we be? We will not attempt to control the committee process, and we have not done and will not do deals with Mr Moore or anyone else.

MR MOORE (4.01), in reply: Mr Speaker, is it not amazing how things change yet nothing changes? On the one hand, we have Labor members standing up in this Assembly every time my vote goes against them and saying that I must have done deals. But, if it goes with them, they say that I made a sensible decision. And so it continues. Mr Speaker, I voted for Mrs Carnell for Chief Minister on the ground that the community had overwhelmingly rejected Labor for its failures. It had nothing to do with whether or not there were committees. In fact, discussion of committees occurred only in the last two days, and my decision was made some time ago.

It is a pity that Mr Berry did not talk to his learned colleague Mr Connolly about the impact of his amendment, because a further impact of it would be for the time being to have no committees at all. Mr Speaker, what you have heard here and what other members of the Assembly and people in the gallery have heard is a load of arrant nonsense from Labor. This is a very fair proposal that I have put up. In my proposal Labor Party members are on every single committee. They are not cut out. If they do not trust each other in terms of their representation on that committee, I can understand that.

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