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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 570 ..



opportunity to challenge Mr Hird's ideas as presented in his dissenting report, and I think it reflects badly on the committee. It reflects badly on Mr Hird, but that is a matter of his own judgment.

I think this Assembly has to express a view to people who are likely to submit a dissenting report that they should at least argue some of the issues in the context of the committee's inquiry. I think this was an appalling episode, and I believe that the dissenting report ought to be rejected. If Mr Hird feels so inclined he can go away and write another one that is more in keeping with his participation in the committee process. Mr Speaker, an amendment has been circulated. I seek leave to formally move that amendment.

Leave granted.

MR BERRY: I move the following amendment which has been circulated in my name:

Add "and the dissenting report be rejected".

MR KAINE (11.50): Mr Speaker, I would not normally do this, but in this case I rise to support the amendment put forward by Mr Berry. I obviously have not seen this report until today and I have been reading through it. I very much suspect that the Minister had something to say. I have been reading the report while the debate on the motion that it be noted has been taking place. We have a committee structure which has long been recognised as one of the strengths of this place, but when a member of a committee who sat through the whole proceedings, presumably, of this committee on this issue comes along with a dissenting report in which he totally dissents from everything, you have to ask the question: "What is the point of his ever having sat on the committee in the first place?". I think he gives himself away, Mr Speaker, not so much by having any gross objections to the content of the report, because in his opening paragraph he says:

The report reflects the personal biases of the majority of the committee ...

That is a pretty strong accusation, Mr Speaker, and if he cannot sustain it I think we should be asking him why he is making that accusation. He does nothing to sustain it. He just makes the statement and lets it hang there. On the other hand, I note that on page 41 of the report there is a specific statement on that matter made by the committee. The committee says at paragraph 7.2:

... some have claimed that the committee wished to investigate the proposed project because some Members were opposed on ideological grounds to the concept of Work for the Dole.

That is the very point that Mr Hird is asserting. The report notes:

Any ideological differences have been set aside.

Are we going to accept that the majority of the members, having made that statement, are wrong, while one member who makes the directly opposite statement is right? Now, I do not accept that as a basis for a dissenting report at all. Mr Hird goes on:

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