Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 936 ..
MR KAINE (continuing):
prepared to provide. But, at the end of the day, if the course of action that I am proposing is followed, the council will be one defined by this Assembly, not by the Executive. I would have thought that the Chief Minister would have wanted this council not only to be independent of the Executive but also to be seen to be.
I would suspect that, if the Chief Minister determines the role, composition and terms of reference, that council will always be seen, regardless of any resolution that this Assembly passes, as being a creature of the Executive. I would have thought that that is exactly what the Executive would not want. In fact, the Chief Minister has indicated that she would prefer it to be at arm's length and she would not want it to be seen as a creature of the Executive.
What I am proposing here is not just form; it is substance. It ought to be the Assembly or one of its standing committees that determines these things, and not the Executive. I would ask the Chief Minister to consider that proposition, and I would ask Mr Osborne and Mr Rugendyke to consider whether they really want to have advising this body an independent council that has been, in fact, set up on terms and conditions determined by the Chief Minister and the Executive. There is a contradiction in that, as far as I am concerned.
I repeat: There is no impediment whatsoever to the Chief Minister and her officials putting to the committee their propositions as to how they would see this council being resourced. Then, when the recommendation comes to this place from the standing committee, it has the imprimatur of the Assembly. It has the indicative support of the Executive. It has to be voted on in this place before the Executive is in any way bound; but they have had an opportunity to make their input. Mr Speaker, I submit that this fulfils completely the intent of Mr Osborne's motion, that it be an independent body, accountable to this Assembly and not to the Executive. I would think that completely the opposite would be the case if we went the route that the Chief Minister is suggesting. Mr Speaker and members, I submit to you that you should support my amendment and create a council that is seen to be independent of the Executive.
MS TUCKER (6.04): I rise briefly to - - -
Ms Carnell: I thought we just said that we were not having any more speakers.
MS TUCKER: I just want to say a few words to support Mr Kaine's amendment. I do not think anyone told me that I could not do that. I just want to make the point that I believe that it is quite appropriate for these matters to go to the Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee, which would obviously make recommendations to the Government. Mrs Carnell would then have the opportunity to respond to such matters in the normal way in the Assembly. It is turning the process back to front to do it the other way, and I cannot see any real justification for it. I acknowledged when I first spoke in this debate that there are resource implications and that, of course, the Government needs to be involved. But there are broader issues as well that need to be discussed. I think, normally, the Chief Minister welcomes the advice of our Assembly committees to help inform her decisions. So, I am disappointed that in this case that process does not seem to be appropriate.