Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 1434 ..
MS CARNELL (continuing):
be expected to explain and defend the Government's policy and administration to the Assembly and its committees. Officials provide factual information on the operation and implementation of government policy. The protocol is intended to aid the open provision of information to committees. The protocol encourages Ministers to inform and consult committees on policy development issues. For example, Ministers are asked to consider whether matters under consideration should be referred to committees for inquiry.
The protocol is in many senses a shortened version of the Participation in Parliamentary Inquiries Handbook. The Government expects to revise the handbook after the Assembly's consideration of Mr Osborne's Legislative Assembly (Privileges) Bill. As the protocol deals with contact by members and committees with the Government, it is only appropriate that members and committees have an opportunity to comment on the protocol. It is for that reason that I have moved that the protocol be referred to the Standing Committee for the Chief Minister's Portfolio. Mr Speaker, I trust that all members will support this motion, although there might be an amendment.
MR KAINE (11.14): Mr Speaker, I move the following amendment to the Chief Minister's motion on this matter:
Omit all words after "That", substitute the following words: "the Protocol for Government Interaction with Assembly Committee Inquiries be referred to the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure for inquiry and report.".
I have moved this amendment because what the Chief Minister is attempting to do is suspend the standing orders of the Assembly for this particular occurrence. It might have been better had she moved a suspension of the standing orders rather than moving the motion that she has moved. Quite frankly, I do not support the notion of suspending the standing orders for a particular document such as this anyway.
The Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure has been established to serve the Assembly, and its responsibilities specifically include the clause which the Chief Minister is proposing to suspend, and that is that the committee is to inquire into and report on, as appropriate, the practices and procedures of the Assembly. In fact, the Chief Minister would have had to seek to suspend subclause (iii) as well, because it is also the responsibility of the standing committee to inquire into and report on matters affecting the standing orders of the Assembly. For some reason she has chosen not to seek to suspend or to set aside that particular part of the standing committee's responsibilities.
Mr Speaker, I believe that the Administration and Procedure Committee is the proper place for this document to be considered. The protocol not only talks about the Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee; it talks about all committees. The Administration and Procedure Committee is set up to deal with all-embracing matters of this kind affecting the way the Assembly functions, not only this protocol but the practices and procedures of the Assembly. That is one of the reasons why the Administration and Procedure Committee exists. It has representatives of all parties and factions in this place and can speak for the whole Assembly. The Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee cannot,