Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (30 April) . . Page.. 219 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
Recommendations 22 and 24 have already been rendered irrelevant by the Assembly, and I think that is a pity. There are, of course, a number of significant issues that do need to be addressed, and I look forward to doing that.
MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (11.18): Mr Speaker, I am absolutely delighted that this matter will be referred to a select committee. It was always my intention that that would be the case from my perspective. It seems to me that we have been through a long process to get to this point. The process can really work only when there is general agreement within the Assembly about what we are trying to achieve.
I have to say that, on reading through the Report of the Review of Governance that was conducted by Professor Pettit, there are a number of things that I find quite disturbing. No doubt other members look at it and find quite disturbing things that I think are very good. That is one of the reasons why it is appropriate that we do refer it to a select committee. I would add, though, that Professor Pettit, when he went around and talked to members before the report came down and basically shared with us pretty well the general tenor of what was in it, made it very clear to Ms Tucker and me when he spoke to us, and I presume to other members, that he did not see his report as the tablets of stone coming down from Mount Sinai. He saw it as containing matters to be discussed, to be considered carefully, and then to be either adopted or rejected by the Assembly. Decisions will be made. Sometimes a majority decision will be taken on issues, but where possible we should see where we have agreement.
One of the most interesting things to me in the report that came down was the suggestion that the system that we operate is a cross between a Westminster system and a Washington system. Perhaps we should refer to it, as Crispin Hull wrote in his article the other day, as a Washminster system. Often things have been justified and actions taken because this is not Westminster. I think we have to be very careful about that. We have to remember that the Westminster system, after all, has as its house of review a house that is not elected.
Mr Corbell: It does not perform a review function anyway.
MR MOORE: I do not think anybody in Australia would be keen to have a house of review that matched the House of Lords. As Mr Corbell interjects, it has an entirely different function.
Mr Corbell: It does not have any review function at all. It has no power.
MR MOORE: It has an entirely different function. I called it a house of review. I should have called it the upper house rather than the house of review. Yes, you are quite right. It seems to me that we need to open our minds to the range of possibilities. Mr Speaker, there is another factor, I think, in considering this in terms of the select committee. So far the proposal has been that it be a three-member select committee. I have had a chance to discuss this with some of my colleagues on this side of the house and with you, Mr Speaker, prior to this afternoon's debate on the appointment of the personnel to be on the committee. It would seem to me that there would be some advantage in having you, Mr Speaker, on that committee as well, and I was pleased when I spoke to you that you would be willing to do that.