Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 2218 ..
MR BERRY (continuing):
Mr Speaker, this is about continuing the charade of independence that Mr Moore likes to promote. There is absolutely no doubt about Mr Moore's position in relation to the Government. He is part of the Government and part of the Executive. He is right in the middle of them. Where you sit is where you stand. There can be no doubt about this. This is one of the most curious arrangements that I have seen emerge from a government or a parliament since I have been thinking about politics, and that is a very long time.
Another issue did cross my mind. I wondered what the Administration and Procedure Committee might do in relation to this if they were to look at it. I am not minded to refer it to that committee because its members probably have better things to worry about, but it is a most curious arrangement. It is a decision for the Government and it is one that they are entitled to make. If they want Mr Moore or any other of their members to take up their Executive time, well, they are perfectly entitled to do it.
What I worry about is the amount of time which is being put into the responsibilities which have been assigned for individual Ministers in this case. For example, I would hate to see Mr Smyth mucking around with something in Health when there is so much of a crisis developing in the bus system. Similarly, I would hate to see one of the other Ministers - one imagines that they are very busy at their jobs - tinkering with the work in another area which might distract a member of the Executive from providing services to the community. Mr Speaker, I just hope that the Government makes sure that Rome is not burning when people are fiddling with this new area of opportunity for them.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (5.08), in reply: In closing this debate there is one thing I think we need to make clear about this which members might not have picked up. If you read the motion, it is to create a concept of Executive members business. It is not to create Michael Moore's business; it is Executive members business.
Mr Berry: I know what it is.
MR HUMPHRIES: Well, you talked about Michael Moore throughout your speech.
Mr Berry: No, I talked about other members too.
MR HUMPHRIES: You talked about Michael Moore exclusively. Other members of the Executive can use this prerogative. Indeed, Mr Speaker, other members of the Executive have, in the past, introduced, as it were, private members business. The good example of that was Ms Carnell's surrogacy legislation last year, I think, which was not a government Bill but a private Bill brought up by Ms Carnell.
I know it is very hard for some of you who are subject to this very strict, straightjacketed party control of what you do to understand this, but we believe that people do not always believe everything that the party tells them and that they have the capacity to take different views on some issues. Mr Speaker, for my part I am quite willing on occasions