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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 3055 ..

Mr Hargreaves: Have you tickled a trout or what? Keep going, Harold; I'm listening to you.

MR HIRD: I was impressed by you yesterday. At least you had the fortitude to stand up for your rights. That is what I am doing; I am standing up for the rights of my committee. Take note, because in future you may be a chairman of a standing committee and, under this precedent of the gentleman on your right, other committees can encroach upon your terms of reference. I am so concerned about the action of the chairman of the Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee that I think the whole question of which committee should conduct this inquiry should be referred to the Speaker. On that note, I seek leave to move a motion.

Leave granted.

MR HIRD: I move:

That the proposed inquiry by the Chief Minister's committee be referred to the Speaker to determine whether the inquiry properly belongs with the Urban Services committee or the Chief Minister's committee.

I will not speak anymore, because I am damned annoyed about the whole exercise. I think it is a gross discourtesy of the worst kind.

MR CORBELL (11.39): With all due respect to my chairman - perhaps he did not get enough sleep last night - I have to say that the proposition put in the statement made by Mr Quinlan earlier today seems to me to be an entirely appropriate course of action for the Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee to take. OFM plays a significant role in the development of the capital works budget and the criteria that are used and the different categories that are put in place within the capital works budget. In case Mr Hird had not noticed, the Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee is responsible for overseeing the operations of the Chief Minister's Department, including, obviously, the Office of Financial Management and the role that OFM plays in the development of the capital works budget.

Mr Speaker, I think that this issue highlights more than anything else that the portfolio committee arrangement which this committee has chosen to implement does have a number of problems that need to be ironed out. Clearly, this highlights one of those problems. It highlights the fact that two portfolio committees have an involvement in a similar issue, but I would say from quite different perspectives and quite legitimate different perspectives. The Urban Services Committee, of which I am a member, is responsible for scrutinising the Government's draft capital works program. That is not what Mr Quinlan is proposing to investigate. Mr Quinlan, through his statement from his committee, is proposing to investigate the criteria used by the Office of Financial Management in its preparation of the draft capital works program - not the projects themselves but the criteria used in assessing those projects.

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