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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (24 November) . . Page.. 2748 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

Mr Speaker, in speaking to this report, I think it is significant to note that the dissenting report from Mr Hird related to four recommendations of the committee and there was a joint dissenting report by Mr Rugendyke and Mr Hird in relation to one. So, overwhelmingly, the recommendations and comments in the report were endorsed by four of the committee members. I would say at the outset in relation to Mr Hird's dissenting report that this does not seem to be the same Mr Hird that was in the committee making these comments.

Mr Hird: You weren't listening.

MR BERRY: Mr Hird interjects that I was not listening, but I do remember asking him to contribute to the debate and him saying on many occasions that he would wait till later. I must say that had some of these - - -

Mr Hird: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. I would like to bring to members' attention that I had only just received the report that morning and I had had a very heavy workload - and he, as chairman, knew that.

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order. You will have the opportunity to respond in due course, Mr Hird.

MR BERRY: One other thing I would say to Mr Hird - through you, Mr Speaker - is that in future, if people advise you on a course to take in relation to matters, you should check the substance of the advice that you receive. I will give you an example. In referring to Executive members and private business, you said that there were no direct precedents for Executive members in relation to private business and you referred to the Artificial Conception (Amendment) Bill which was presented by Mrs Carnell. Mrs Carnell, as Chief Minister, sought leave to present it and it was presented.

The arrangements, which, of course, resulted in a change to standing orders, are what the committee was referring to and there are no precedents, according to the evidence that the committee received. That should have been easily understood by you. So, check the advice that you are getting before you make statements. Again, I would just say that this is a different Mr Hird from the one that appeared in the committee, it appears to me. I would have liked to have taken some of his views into consideration if they had been reported in detail in the course of proceedings. I think all the other members would agree that ample time was given to members to express views in relation to all matters contained in the report.

The first thing that I would like to do is thank those committee staffers who helped us on this voyage. It was a new way of dealing with this particular committee's function in the Assembly. On the advice of Mr Symington, three other portfolio committee secretaries were involved in the process. They then participated in the committee's inquiry at each step along the way. The steps I refer to, of course, were the individual investigations of annual reports insofar as the portfolio areas of the various Ministers are concerned.

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