Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 3062 ..
MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (12.06): I think the nub of the argument here is in the concluding words of Ms Tucker: Why should the Assembly have the right to override the committee? I think that is when we get into very dangerous ground. It is clear that the committees are creatures of the Assembly. As such, the Assembly must always have the right to override anything that an Assembly committee does. I think that is absolutely fundamental to the democratic process. I have been an enthusiastic supporter of self-referral by committees, but I have also been very keen to ensure that, when an Assembly committee self-refers, they immediately let the Assembly know. That gives the Assembly the prerogative to do something like move the motion moved by Mr Hird or the amendment moved by Mr Humphries.
I shall be supporting the amendment moved by Mr Humphries, but I would ask members to ensure that they work together to ensure that the work is not lost hereto. It seems to me that we have had a minor problem. I might remind members that we are all a little tired. I think this can be resolved fairly easily and fairly quickly.
MR QUINLAN (12.07): Mr Speaker, speaking to the amendment, I am very tempted to support the amendment: Show me yours, Harold, and I will show you mine. Let me give this very grave issue some perspective. We had a couple of briefings on the capital works budget as part of exercising our responsibility, trying to understand the capital works budget, and we were told that OFM had made earlier commitments and were going to restructure the capital works budget, that it would be a whole lot more readable and contain more genuine information. They promised to give us a bit of feedback. They came back with the feedback and it really did not involve the communication of much more information.
I sat down and wrote a list of the things and the structure I thought would make a reasonable format, not content, for a capital works budget. I then asked my committee secretary, "How do I get this into the system? I want to get it into the system in a manner with some force". I was told that I should advise that there was a formal inquiry and then at the next sitting immediately report, having passed the list of contents by my committee so that they were happy with it. That is all there is to it. All we wanted to bring to this place was a strong recommendation for the content of a capital works budget. If the Assembly wishes to vote up this amendment, I will stick my list in my bottom drawer and wait for Harold to come forward with his suggestions, having come with a clear mind, and we will get the benefit of both our thoughts. I do not want to corrupt your thinking along the way. When we have the benefit of your thinking on the content of it, we can sit down over a coffee or a beer, Harold, and exchange our ideas on it and come forward to the Assembly with a composite answer. The only thing I desire out of all this is that this Assembly incorporate some form of instruction as to what it requires in the content of its capital works budget, because this appears to have been an unresolved problem between the Assembly and various forms of Treasury office for some years. I will not be supporting the amendment.