Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 3060 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
recommendations to the Assembly and presumably to the Government about particular matters that had been considered by that committee. That is not appropriate because another committee will be charged with that exercise in respect of the capital works program, that is, the Urban Services Committee. If Mr Quinlan's committee wants to find out about the capital works budget, it should call for a briefing from the Office of Financial Management, take on board that briefing and, if necessary, then deal with it in some other way, such as a recommendation to the Urban Services Committee or some other kind of process for further examination of issues that arise from
The last point I want to make about this issue is very simple. Last night - well, only a few hours ago - we were in this place being lectured about abuse of parliamentary process and lack of consultation. Does it not strike anybody as odd that a committee of the Assembly should inquire into a matter which is quite expressly referred to as a responsibility of the Urban Services Committee without the chair of that committee going and talking to the chair of the Urban Services Committee? It seems to me very strange indeed. We were talking yesterday about consultation with the community. We were also talking about lack of consultation between members. If members felt that was important, why was there not any discussion with the chairman of the Urban Services Committee?
I move the amendment which has been circulated in my name:
Omit all words after "That" substitute "this Assembly directs the Standing Committee for the Chief Minister's Portfolio not to proceed with the inquiry on the form and content of the Draft Capital Works Program, and that the inquiry be undertaken instead by the Standing Committee on Urban Services.".
In speaking in support of the amendment, I would say to members that it is important that we not allow this reference by the Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee to go ahead because, if we do, we encourage and condone a process of committees unilaterally setting up themselves to make inquiries into areas which quite clearly touch on the work of other committees without consultation with those committees. That is a bad precedent to set. In future, there ought to be consultation. By passing my amendment to the motion of Mr Hird we achieve that outcome.
MS TUCKER (12.02): I agree with Mr Humphries' amendment in that he is saying that the Assembly should decide this matter and that it is not appropriate to refer it to the Speaker, but that is as far as the agreement goes because I believe that the Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee, if you look at its terms of reference, certainly is able to look at this issue. We have had the discussion in this place before about why this supposedly strong link is always made between the Urban Services Committee and capital works. If you look at it, capital works goes across all areas. It goes across education and it goes across health.