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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (30 April) . . Page.. 253 ..

Mr Humphries: I was certainly criticised for spending six weeks in France, according to you; so join the club.

MR BERRY: Six weeks in France? I would not mind trying that one on. I would not mind being criticised for being in France for six weeks.

MR SPEAKER: Advice on the slide night will be provided shortly!

MR BERRY: I do not think that the Government's arrangements in Havana are particularly applicable to the ACT and smoking is rather more difficult here than in Havana - cigars, that is.

The aim of the motion is to increase this committee to five members. It is in the process of being circulated now. I think it takes advantage of a broader base of members in the place and makes a bit of sense, to be frank. These are issues that interest a lot of members and contributions will add to the quality of the report on the remaining and outstanding issues left to that committee to report on. But it is a statement that has been made by many that I rely upon - that is, there seems to be an argument at large that it would be better to draw on a wider base of expertise in the Assembly. I think Pettit made that point himself. In respect of this particular issue, that is entirely relevant.

I trust, Mr Speaker, that the committee will consider this in a not so partisan way when dealing with the issues. I know there are matters which the committee will not agree on and there are matters that some members in this place have already made up their minds about. But this is essentially drawing upon the expertise of the Assembly by increasing it to five members. The motion will not specify where those five members will come from, but I will say at this point that one should come from the Government and one should come from the Opposition. If there is particular opposition to that, I am pretty flexible about it. I think that would be an appropriate course.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (4.09): Mr Speaker, I will be quite brief. I oppose the motion. It is all very well for Mr Berry to get up and say, "Let us have more members on committees", but inevitably in the task of operating government in the Territory you are left with only a small number of members on the government benches who are able to serve on committees. Both Mr Kaine and Mr Hird are already committed to three separate committees in their own right. Mr Cornwell has agreed to go on this committee in order to be able to relieve the other members on the Liberal backbench of that pressure. Appointing another member to this committee from the Government benches would certainly make it very difficult for members to be able to cover those bases. It is not in the interests of committees of the Assembly to have members who have - - -

Mr Berry: If the Government does not want to be on it we will have another crossbench member. I do not care. This is outrageous. People are shaking their heads. They talk about using a broader base of the talent - - -

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Berry, you have already spoken.

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