None . . Page.. 1015 ..
(6) The Committee is authorised to release copies of its report, prior to the Speaker or Deputy Speaker authorising its printing and circulation and pursuant to embargo conditions and to persons to be determined by the Committee.
(7) The foregoing provisions of this resolution have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the standing orders.
The Estimates Committee, obviously, is one of the most important processes of this parliament or, for that matter, of any parliament. I find it interesting that some parliaments, Queensland being one, have had the estimates procedure for only a short period of time, if they have it yet. I have always found it an extremely important process and, in line with that, we believe that the make-up of the committee is important.
To reiterate comments that were made by the previous Government, it is important that the make-up of the Estimates Committee should not be based upon political grandstanding. I think the then Chief Minister said that the potential for political grandstanding that was such a feature of the previous estimates process would be eliminated by a make-up not dissimilar to this. The make-up of the committee in the last Assembly was two members from the Government, two from the Opposition and one Independent. We have now stepped that up to two Independents, as there is an extra Independent in the Assembly. We think this is a fair approach, and we commend the motion to the Assembly.
MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (3.39): The Opposition will not be opposing this motion, but I do want to make some points about it. The first point I would make is that it has always been the practice in this place for the composition of the Estimates Committee to be the subject of consultation between all parties. It is absolutely typical of the high-handed and arrogant approach of the present Government that they have not sought to consult on this matter; rather, they have moved the motion off their own bat, regardless of what anybody else might have thought of it.
Furthermore, I can advise that, as the chair of the Public Accounts Committee, I wrote to Mrs Carnell two or three weeks ago asking for her views on how the estimates process might run and how the Estimates Committee might be formulated. I have not heard back from Mrs Carnell on that matter. It is a fundamental lack of manners. There is growing evidence that the open and consultative rhetoric of this Government is more and more of a sham every day. I think it is regrettable that, on a matter where quite clearly the Assembly does need a degree of cooperation and does need a commitment of resources from all parties and all sectors of the Assembly, Mrs Carnell has operated unilaterally and moved the motion without discussing it with anybody. Within my own caucus, members have a variety of views on how the estimates process might operate. As members would know, we have had a number of different iterations of the Estimates Committee process since the Assembly first had such a process.