Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (13 June) . . Page.. 1595 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

Estimates Committee. The standing orders of the Assembly are quite specific. Standing order 251-I will read it, in case some of the members of the Assembly have failed to do so-states:

If any member dissents from part or all of the draft report under consideration, that member may present a dissenting report which shall be added to the report agreed by the committee.

In other words, it is not open to members to come in here after the select committee report has been tabled and then attempt to table their own version of the report because it suits the government to do so. I thought Mr Humphries' attempt to justify that on the grounds that anybody is allowed to table any document at any time was a first-rate case of dissembling and misrepresentation. What he and his two backbenchers were attempting to do was subvert the standing orders of this place.

Mr Speaker, I asked you for a ruling the minute Mr Humphries got to his feet, and you declined to make it. You should have ruled against them, right then and there, under standing order 251, and I make no apology for saying that I think you failed in your duty when you did that and allowed the debate to take place. That could have led to those backbench members tabling a separate, government written, select committee report on the estimates, contrary to the standing orders of the place.

If that is to be the standard under which this government is going to continue to operate, Mr Speaker, I think we have got a poor future ahead of us. I think it is going too far when the Chief Minister himself cannot abide by and tries to subvert the standing orders of this place

I have said that I might debate a couple of issues in the budget when they come up later. I take no particular exception to the processes of the Estimates Committee. What we have seen is to be expected in an election year. But I think it is quite odd for people to get their knickers in a knot in the way the two members of the backbench have done this time. It is, to say the least, bizarre for the Chief Minister to support them in that.

I hope in future years we will deal with the budget and the Estimates Committee's reports in accordance with the standing orders of this place, and not attempt to subvert them to somebody's particular advantage.

MR HIRD (12.23): Mr Speaker, I am a member of the Select Committee on Estimates 2001-2002. I listened to the gobbledegook from Mr Kaine about dissenting reports. Let me put this matter to rest. If he analysed standing order 251, he would know that the secretariat's advice last Friday was in accordance with the way in which that standing order is worded.

Mr Speaker, I have been associated with this place since 1974. The Advisory Council and then the two Legislative Assemblies with which I was associated had a committee system. That system was very fair-I notice that Mr Kaine has now left the chamber-and it was very rare for a dissenting report to be put forward. In those early days Advisory Council committees relied upon their ability to get on with the job so that they could advise the respective federal ministers of their obligations to the citizens of this

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .