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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (30 April) . . Page.. 257 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

If Ms Tucker had indicated that she wanted to be on the committee, then that would have added a different element to the committee and I certainly would have been happy to entertain that. But I do not think we should be tricked by these silly arguments that the decision-making process is incredibly enhanced because we have five members on a committee or three members on a committee when we are talking about the Assembly as a whole.

Mr Hargreaves: It is a question of trust.

MR MOORE: Indeed. Mr Hargreaves's argument was about inclusiveness, but the best part of all that he said was that the Labor Party has learnt from those opposite them how to stack. I must admit that I found that particularly entertaining. The Labor Party must know that nobody else has the stacking skills of the Labor Party. Mr Hargreaves went on to say - and this is the part that I found most interesting - that they have a commitment to the improvement of government. I do not doubt that part. The next thing he said was that they have never been asked. I realise that it was before your time here, Mr Hargreaves, but the Labor Party was asked quite a number of times towards the end of the last Assembly to make a submission and to be involved. They were asked. We know that there has been a change in attitude since the election, and I do not resile from that. I think that is very positive. It is important to understand that the Labor Party was asked to participate in the process from the beginning.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (4.24): I will join the debate very briefly, Mr Speaker. I think the Pettit report is an incredibly important report. All the recommendations go to the heart of this place and to government in the ACT. The recommendations, if implemented, would have the most fundamental impact on the operations of the Assembly and the operations of government in the ACT. It really is an incredibly serious task that this select committee has been set. It seems to me that the work of the committee can only be enhanced and improved if the membership is increased to five. The range of experience and views that would be brought to bear would be so much broader and potentially the committee would represent the interests of all those represented in this place. That would open up the possibility of a much more thorough examination of the very significant issues that we will be asked to address.

As the Labor Party's nominee and as a nominee to chair this committee, it would be my view that the committee would be much enhanced if it had five serving members rather than three. I do not accept the argument that all members are at liberty to join in the deliberations of the committee. We all know that that really gives them just a Clayton's role of responsibility. It does not give them the opportunity to feel any ownership of the process or to be part of the process. It really is a furphy. It is not a sustainable argument. I think everybody here knows in their heart that the work of this committee or of any committee would be significantly enhanced if the membership were increased to five. I urge members to think seriously about this motion. It is really important work that this committee will do. It is a very important report. It has the potential to have the most profound and fundamental impact on this place and on the government of the ACT, and we should render it the seriousness and the respect that it deserves.

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