Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (14 October) . . Page.. 3198 ..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
The arguments put forward by the other side of the house are nothing short of puerile, hypocritical and nonsensical. What they need to do over there is grow up and say okay to an extension of time, thereby allowing this inquiry to proceed. To suggest that you, Mr Speaker, and Mr Osborne do not have enough to do with your time but to wander around these hallowed halls waiting for an inquiry to start is nothing short of stupid. I think we should have a vote on this motion, extend the time and just get on with the rest of the program.
MS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (5.30): Mr Speaker, it seems that some members have forgotten the significance of what we are debating here. We are debating a request from Mr Stanhope to extend the reporting date of a committee that was set up on 6 May of this year by this Assembly at the direction or initiative of the Labor Party - the Select Committee on Government Contracting and Procurement Processes. When the relevant motion was passed on 6 May the committee was given the reporting date that those opposite put in the motion. The reporting date was not one put on the committee or required of the committee by the rest of the Assembly.
When a select committee is set up we know that it comes at a quite significant cost to the taxpayer - the cost of support and also the cost of paying an extra amount of money to the chairman. Mr Speaker, with the taking of such money, whether it be as Chief Minister, Leader of the Opposition or chairman of a committee, comes quite significant responsibilities. When you take the role of Speaker and the financial remuneration that comes with that, you take responsibility for performing the duties of Speaker. Do members of this house believe that it is all right for the chairman of a select committee set up by the Assembly to take the money and not sit?
Mr Moore: It is a specific job.
MS CARNELL: It is a specific job for which those opposite brought forward in this place a motion with a reporting date of their discretion. They determined the date the committee was to be set up and they put in the reporting date, so it was all in their hands. From the day that the committee was set up Mr Stanhope accepted the dollars involved in chairing the committee. Since then virtually nothing has happened and Mr Stanhope has had to come back to this place seeking a quite significant extension of time as the first sitting day after 30 June 2000 will be August of next year. Mr Speaker, that is a significant extension of the timeframe that Mr Stanhope himself set for his committee. Comments have been made about how busy members are. Mr Stanhope is not on any other committees, Mr Hargreaves.
Mr Hargreaves: So what?
MS CARNELL: As this is the only one, he cannot be so frantically busy that he could not call a meeting. Comments were made by Mr Hargreaves with regard to other members of the committee. Mr Speaker, you know, I know, Mr Osborne knows that it is the chairman of the committee who actually calls the meetings, not the members. By the way, the members do not get paid. The chairman gets paid because the chairman is supposed to take control of the committee, call the meetings and do the extra amount of work that goes with chairing a committee. Members cannot call meetings; they do not have the power to do so. The chairman does and only the chairman does.