Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 3143 ..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
of a legislature. They said that it blurred the line to a dangerous degree, yet this Chief Minister has not learnt her lesson. This Government has not learnt its lesson and is proposing, in this outrageous suggestion, that a Minister perform the role of a non-Executive member in scrutinising and examining a proposal which is essentially that of the Executive. That is what the Government is proposing.
The hypocrisy, particularly of Mr Moore, who would seem to condone this but who was until very recently the champion of the legislature over the Executive and the rights of the legislature over the Executive, is appalling. I certainly hope that Mr Osborne, who is equally a champion of the rights and the privileges of the legislature over the Executive, will also oppose this proposition. If he does not, then he reveals that he does not have that understanding; but I am very hopeful that he does have that understanding. Once we blur the line, it is blurred forever and it is a precedent which this Assembly cannot walk away from - a member of Cabinet on a committee of the Assembly. It is not a proposition that this Assembly should in any way accept.
MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (7.09): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, you have another role. (Quorum formed) Those opposite say that this is an important debate. An important issue is certainly unfunded superannuation. People seem to be pulling the sale of ACTEW in with that. These are important issues. There is no doubt about that for the people of Canberra. Are those opposite suggesting that the Government should not have a representative on the committee? If that is the case, then the committee is worth nothing. It is worth nothing if there is no government representative on it when you consider that, according to those opposite, this is a direction put on the table by the Government. If that is the case - - -
Mr Stanhope: It is not.
MS CARNELL: If that is not the case, Mr Stanhope, what you are suggesting is that our one backbencher should be on more than eight committees. It is not humanly possible to go to the meetings, to read the papers and to do the background work for even eight committees.
Mr Wood: I did it. I can tell you from personal experience that it can be done.
MS CARNELL: Are you going on this committee? No. Spot on.
Mr Stanhope: I think we are prepared to prioritise, Chief Minister. I think we are prepared to prioritise and forgive Mr Hird if we just ease off on a couple of other inquiries. We will forgive him.
MS CARNELL: But that is not all right. We want to make sure that our representation on all committees is appropriate. When we look at the terms of reference of this committee, there is no reason in the world why Mr Humphries cannot do a very adequate job in representing the views of the Government on this committee. This committee does not scrutinise the Government. This committee is looking at particular issues.