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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 3138 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

I might indicate to the Assembly that the Government will be nominating me as the government representative on that committee. It is not usual to have Ministers on such committees, but I think it is important that there be a level of involvement in that process by a Minister. Mr Berry shakes his head. There is no provision in standing orders, as I understand it, Mr Speaker, which prevents a Minister serving on a committee. There are precedents for that to occur. I think it is appropriate that it should take place. Certainly that is what my party will be doing.

So, Mr Speaker, I welcome this chance. I look forward to the exercise. I hope that we will employ the usual process of empirical analysis of issues with, let me say, hopefully perhaps and touching wood, a minimum of political overlay in that process, because the answer to the question we ask is important and the problem that we are facing is of such enormity that we owe it to our community to find the best possible solution to that problem.

MS TUCKER (6.46): I have already expressed my concerns about the way sections of the motion are being deleted, but I am interested in making a comment on Mr Humphries nominating for this committee. He says that there are precedents for this. I would like to hear what they are. I know, of course, that there are precedents for Ministers being on housekeeping and domestic committees. He cannot just say that there are precedents. I would really like to know what they are, because that is very interesting to me.

I am also interested in the principle of it, because my understanding is that the function of committees is to scrutinise and examine what government does. The committee is a creature of the Assembly which scrutinises government, basically. What this committee is doing, basically, is looking at the claim that there is only one way to deal with our super debt, and it is to sell ACTEW. That is the position of this Government. Now we are having a Minister of this Government joining this committee to scrutinise this Government's claim. I find that a bit of a joke actually and very worrying. I do not know what Mr Humphries thinks he is achieving by it, except bringing this parliament into greater dispute than it is in already. It is obviously political. Maybe they do not think that anyone else in that group has the talent to actually go onto that committee.

Mr Moore: What has your position been?

MS TUCKER: Mr Moore says, "It is your decision". I am making particular points about the role of committees in this Assembly.

Mr Moore: I said, "What is your position?".

MS TUCKER: What is my position? What are you talking about?

Mr Moore: It has been absolutely, implacably opposed.

MS TUCKER: So now we are going to have the issue that people cannot go onto committees if they have - - -

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