Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 2799 ..
MR KAINE (continuing):
We did. They did not have time.
Ms Follett, can you give us the names of the people who were invited? When were they invited to attend the committee hearings, and by what means was the contact made?
MS FOLLETT: Mr Speaker, clearly, I will have to take that question on notice. I will need to consult with the committee secretary. I can advise that the list of people that Mr Kaine offered to the committee by way of possible attendees or makers of submissions to the committee were contacted by the committee secretariat and, as I said in my report on the committee's inquiry, most of them were not able to respond because of a lack of time.
Mr Humphries: You said "all of them" before.
MS FOLLETT: We did get some submissions, Mr Speaker, as the report indicates. I can undertake to make that information available.
MR SPEAKER: For the information of members, this question is being asked under standing order 116.
MR KAINE: I ask a supplementary question. Was any attempt made to accommodate these people in terms of their ability to attend? If not, does this reflect the fact that you really did not want expert opinion to contradict your own biases and prejudices?
MR SPEAKER: Order! Ignore the last reference.
MS FOLLETT: I will advise Mr Kaine and the Assembly, yet again, that the deadline on our committee's work was imposed by the Government. Our attempts to make a full and proper inquiry, as I have said, were constrained by that deadline. Most committee inquiries, in fact, all inquiries where there has been a general attempt to draw submissions and to attract people to give evidence to those inquiries, have had, first of all, the benefit of a decent timeframe. Secondly, they have had the benefit of being able to advertise that their inquiry is being undertaken and to give organisations and individuals, most of whom need at least a month's notice to come up with a submission or to come up with a joint point of view, time to make such a response.
In the case of this inquiry, members will recall that I had initially asked for a deadline of, I think, February. I think that would have been a reasonable timeframe in which to permit the Government to have its legislation considered with the benefit of a full and proper inquiry.
Mr Humphries: That is not the question you were asked. Be relevant.
MR SPEAKER: Order!