Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1185 ..
MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, for Mrs Carnell to allege that I in some way had no confidence in the estimates committee process is quite wrong and misleading.
MR SPEAKER: Do you wish to make a personal explanation, Chief Minister?
MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer): I suppose I have to, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I ask Mr Berry to withdraw any indication that I was misleading this Assembly in any way. He certainly did make that comment at the end of his speech. With regard to a personal explanation, Mr Speaker, I made it very clear that I believe that this Assembly is the ultimate body in governing this Territory. I made it very clear that I believe that the Estimates Committee is very important to this Assembly. If Mr Berry knew anything, he would realise that there would not have been an estimates committee if there had not been an appropriation Bill.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Berry, would you withdraw the comment that the Chief Minister was misleading?
Mr Berry: Yes, sir.
MR SPEAKER: Thank you.
Debate resumed from 18 April 1996, on motion by Mrs Carnell:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
MR WHITECROSS (Leader of the Opposition) (12.19): The purpose of this legislation is pretty straightforward - to ensure that when we have an inquiry under the Inquiries Act the report can be made available to members prior to it being tabled in the Assembly. We will not have to wait until it is tabled in the Assembly for it to attract the normal privileges. This is something that has been highlighted by the Pearce inquiry and the Stein inquiry. The Labor Party will be supporting this Bill.
MR MOORE (12.20): I rise to support this legislation. The point was not made just by the Pearce inquiry. It was reiterated by Justice Stein in his report as well. This does raise a number of issues that have come before the Assembly with reference to the Assembly's own reports, Mr Speaker. I think it may well be worth while for us to consider using a similar approach when Assembly reports are presented outside normal sitting times. The process at the moment, Mr Speaker, is that they are given to you and you are left to make the judgment about whether or not they will attract this type of protection. That is a side issue, Mr Speaker, that I might refer to you - the possibility of protecting committee reports in the same way. It is a sensible move and it fits in with the spirit of the Inquiries Act.