Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 1435 ..
MR KAINE (continuing):
nor can any other committee. I would argue that the Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee is no more appropriate for consideration of this matter than is the Urban Services Committee or the Health Committee for that matter, because it is not properly representative of the interests of the Assembly.
Mr Speaker, I do not think that I need to say more than that. The Chief Minister has not explained what her objective is in setting aside the standing orders of the Assembly and seeking to refer this matter to a particular committee rather than the one that is established for the purpose of looking at such protocols. I urge members to support my amendment and refer the matter to the appropriate committee of the Assembly.
MR CORBELL (11.17): Mr Speaker, the Labor Party will be supporting Mr Kaine's amendment. This is quite an important point. Whilst for some it may not appear to be particularly important whether this matter goes to one committee or another, we feel quite strongly, as Mr Kaine has already indicated, that there is a committee in this place charged with the issues to do with the processes and practices of this place, the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure. As Mr Kaine quite rightly points out, it is not the role of any other committee to look at issues affecting the operation of all committees in this place. That responsibility is quite rightly with the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure, which reports to this Assembly, and this Assembly makes the final decisions as to how this place operates.
I think it is only appropriate that we do not have the Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee or, as Mr Kaine quite rightly points out, the Urban Services Committee or the Justice and Community Safety Committee look at this matter. None of those committees should be looking at how the Executive interacts with the parliament. That is an issue, quite rightly, for the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure. As Mr Kaine points out, I think it would be useful if this Assembly could have some explanation as to why the Chief Minister has sought to suspend standing orders 16(1)(a)(ii) and (iii), because we are yet to understand her motivation. I urge members to support Mr Kaine's amendment. It is only appropriate that the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure, which has representatives from all groupings in this place, consider this issue and report back to this Assembly for a decision.
MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (11.19): Mr Speaker, just briefly, speaking on the amendment, I indicate that the Government does not mind what committee this reference goes to. That might circumvent the whole debate on that point.
MR BERRY (11.19): I must say at the outset that I would be surprised if this protocol was put forward to assist committees in their work in the scrutiny of the Government. I have not had much time to read it, but I will wager that somewhere in there are some provisions which would make it more difficult for the committees to work and to get hold of some information. It says:
Factual information may be provided to Committees at the discretion of the relevant Minister.