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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (28 April) . . Page.. 55 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

The study by parliaments of this nation of all the issues that come before those committees is an expanding area, and it is an area that is doing a great deal to improve the democratic way of proceeding in the parliaments for the people that they serve. I think it is clear, when Mr Moore argues that that is to be dissipated amongst five committees, that we just will not have that level of attention, and this Assembly will suffer. I believe that putting it onto these committees is an afterthought and that is the way it will be treated. I do not think it is practical, either. Everybody who has chaired the Scrutiny of Bills Committee - Mr Humphries and everybody else - will acknowledge that it depends enormously on the technical advice that it gets. I suspect that in the end each of the five committees will get a bit of paper from that technical expert. Are you going to provide the resources and the funds to have him trot along to every meeting that you have where legislation is involved?

Mr Humphries: Do you need to?

MR WOOD: I will acknowledge that when I was chairing the Scrutiny of Bills Committee I needed to, and I suspect, Mr Humphries, that when you chaired that committee you needed to as well. Do you think that the debates that you had with Professor Whalan were not instructive and were not important? They were to me.

Mr Moore: It helped you to understand the legislation. It should happen to more people.

MR WOOD: It is not just a matter of having a bit of paper, a bit of advice, put in front of you; it is the debate that you have with that legal adviser.

Mr Moore: That is the whole point.

MR WOOD: Thank you, Mr Moore. I think you are arguing against yourself, Mr Moore. Your interjections are against yourself there. I accept that; they are very important. Mr Moore might have to stand up and tell me now that the legal adviser will go to every meeting where he is required and the Government will fund it. He will be run ragged, I suspect. I do not think it is practical to do that; it is just not practical. It will not work and it will further diminish the work of those committees. I leave it at that. They are important committees. Their role is increasing, to the benefit of this parliament and all parliaments. Let us see that it continues and does not go into reverse.

Debate (on motion by Mr Humphries) adjourned.

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