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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (14 October) . . Page.. 3180 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

what has the committee done in the last six months about that matter? What submissions has it called for? What hearings has it conducted? What work has it undertaken? Mr Speaker, I would like to know. I hope Mr Quinlan can rise and justify this motion in this place.

It is a matter of concern to me that we give these references to committees of the Assembly; matters which entail in the very decision to put them to a committee, an expenditure of resources on behalf of the community. It might not necessarily be in the form of extra pay for members of the committee necessarily - this is a standing committee of course - but it can be in terms of the resources tied up in research, in organisations and individuals wanting to make representations; going to the trouble of preparing submissions and so on. All sorts of things flow from a decision to make a reference to a standing or select committee.

If committees find, for whatever reason, that they do not have the capacity to actually carry out those inquiries, not surprisingly we have expectations raised in the community that are not satisfied. Potentially resources committed are wasted because they are not realised. We seem to be assured by Mr Quinlan we are going to get around eventually to doing what was in May of this year a terribly important, very urgent inquiry into the Financial Management Act but which towards the end of October in the same financial year does not appear to have had enough importance to intrude into the otherwise presumably busy work program of the Committee for the Chief Minister's Portfolio.

I want to know; I want to get some reasons here, Mr Speaker, and I will give Mr Quinlan leave to speak in this matter and to explain what he sees as the reasons for there being an extension to 30 June 2000. Given the wording there, the first sitting day after 30 June 2000, that means August 2000. I would like him to explain to me why this matter which was so urgent in May of this year now effectively needs 15 months to complete. From May 1999 to August 2000, we have got 15 months before the Assembly hears the result of these matters.

Now, the Government has expressed concern about these sorts of inquiries launched with great fanfare and described as a great witch-hunt on the excesses and secrets and dark closets of the Government. But in the cold hard light of day they do not appear to be quite as monumental as they might appear when they are first inaugurated. So it would be helpful for the Assembly to know if these sorts of things are going to be initiated and whether they are justified in those circumstances. If members are going to initiate these inquiries, they might at least do the Assembly the courtesy of getting them under way. Mr Speaker, I am looking forward to hearing Mr Quinlan's justification for this motion.


(4.34): I am somewhat disturbed at the response from the Minister - the implication that somehow the committee is not doing the work that is assigned to it; that we are bludging; that we are not really giving much output; that somehow we are remiss in what we do. Personally I take exception to that. If the Minister even checks the daily program or the notice paper that is in front of him, he will notice that, since this committee was formed, it has submitted essentially 28 reports. Many reports are the result of a good deal of work and effort, despite the fact that we have had a couple of

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