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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (16 February) . . Page.. 153 ..

MR SPEAKER (continuing):

It has often been held that the committee process is a major achievement of this Assembly, and I therefore remind all members that all the rules must be adhered to if committees are to operate responsibly and successfully in an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect between members. To do otherwise will probably result in the erosion of the credibility of the Assembly's committee system.

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a short statement.

Leave granted.

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, I think you have dealt with that matter quite appropriately. I have great respect for Mr Hird. I do not think he is easily intimidated. I do not think even the Chief Minister intimidates Mr Hird. But there is one aspect that I do want to talk about. As part of what I thought was a fairly theatrical attack on the superannuation committee's report I, in my role as Acting Speaker, later to the event, received some collateral damage. It was minor, but I do think some attention needs to be paid to it. That role was simply this, as Mr Hird points out in his letter that the Speaker has just tabled:

Second, the resolution of appointment of the Select Committee stated that " ... the Assembly authorised the speaker to give directions for the printing, circulation and publication of the committee's report if the Assembly is not sitting when the committee has completed its report."

There was a strong implication in that debate, by Mr Hird and Mr Moore in speech - and, I think, especially by Mr Moore by the vehemence of his interjections - that there was something wrong in the way I, as Acting Speaker at the time the report was completed, had authorised the printing and publication of the report. There was nothing wrong. They were wrong. What I did was entirely consistent with what has always happened here. There was nothing different. It was quite unremarkable. I can excuse the theatrics of the occasion, but I still do not think that gives members the right to attack me in the way they did, and by inference to attack other people, because if I had done anything wrong there must have been some collusion with officers of the Assembly.

As we debated on 2 February, the minutes of the committee indicate that on Friday afternoon late the report was adopted. Subsequent to that, officers of the Assembly contacted me as Deputy Speaker saying that there would be a time when I needed to authorise the printing and publication of the report, and that is what happened. As it turned out, the committee met again on Saturday, in the main, I understand, to deal with Mr Hird's dissenting report. As it turned out, the committee again adopted the report after making some very minor changes, so the minutes say. Even then, my signing of the document to authorise the printing and publication was done after that second adoption of the report.

The fact is that everything I did was entirely consistent with the way procedures have operated in this Assembly for 10 years, and there should be no claims that there was something amiss. I invite Mr Hird and Mr Moore to make the appropriate apologies.

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