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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (15 February) . . Page.. 224 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

it has become more difficult, and I think deliberately so. Once again we have to go back and do the very best we can.

They are important issues. The committee is willing to be cooperative, but Mr Humphries is making it so difficult for us. My colleagues may say something. Certainly we will be around the committee table looking at this. There are concerns. Mr Humphries will go on his merry way, deliberately, consciously and maliciously getting the best of both of worlds. It is unnecessary, undesirable and unprofessional and is not a way of advancing the esteem and the prestige of this Assembly.

MS TUCKER (11.40): I move the amendment circulated in my name, which reads as follows:

Paragraph (1), omit all words after "23 March 2001", substitute the following words "with recommendations that maintain or improve the operating result;".

A couple of points have to be made here, I believe. First of all, I am surprised that Mr Osborne did not move the amendment that I moved, because the draft budget committee's first recommendation was, in fact, that the process through which standing committees could look at the government's draft budget would not be an optional process for committees, depending on the whim of each committee.

The reason that that recommendation was made was that it was the view of the committee that it was very unfair to set up a situation where some members of the community could have an opportunity to consult with a standing committee of this parliament and others could no. It was also thought that it may well be the case that the chair of each committee would realise that anyway and choose to take on this particular work of looking at the draft budget, because they would realise that it would be an unacceptable situation if some did and some did not.

But the point is that it is the Chief Minister who has continued to support the optional process, so he and his colleagues obviously do not have any sympathy for that argument. It is quite insulting and, as Mr Wood said, it would be a very poor reflection on this place if some standing committees were inviting the community to consult and others were not. Of course, Mr Humphries' response to that is, "That is on their shoulders," which is a very irresponsible attitude in my view, because he has a leadership role here. He should know quite clearly that he needs to make sure that processes are good and respectable, basically, and will give the community confidence in what we are as a parliament.

I have heard Mr Humphries, Mr Moore and others on the other side of the house accuse other people many times of bringing this Assembly into disrepute and people being accused of going back to the bad old days, and so on. I have heard that across the chamber on and off. I agree that it is really important that we always behave in this place in a way that will inspire confidence in the community. I think it is of concern that the Chief Minister would take the approach that committees can look at it if they want to and, if they do not, that is their problem.

The point is that this is a new process. It was decided by this parliament that we would trial a draft budget process. It is an innovation, as Mr Humphries said, in how parliaments work. The Greens supported that because we are interested in looking at

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