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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (19 June) . . Page.. 2054 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

We had a meeting where I said, "Issues. Are there any issues?" We had a specific meeting at which I asked, "What issues do you want in the report and what issues don't you want in the report?" None. You were at that meeting and you then attended half of four deliberative meetings. Mrs Burke flitted in and out of the last couple of deliberative meetings and her contribution was zip. The government ought to hang its head in shame for a lack of contribution to this report.

MS TUCKER (4.02): Obviously I have not had time to read in detail the government's response to the report of Select Committee on Estimates 2001-2002 but I will respond to a couple of the comments made by Mr Humphries in his tabling speech. I feel I have to say again that it was quite disturbing to hear Mr Humphries make allegations about the way in which the chair of the committee handled the deliberative stage of the committee's consideration-I think he was talking about the deliberative stage but maybe he was talking more generally-and the lack of opportunity government committee members had to engage in the debate and discussion, and basically to participate in the estimates process.

At one point during this debate a point of order was taken that Mr Quinlan had made imputations concerning Mr Hird. Maybe it is not unparliamentary to say that someone as chair of a committee conducted themselves in a totally inappropriate manner. Maybe we do not have a standing order to cover that sort of imputation. But clearly this sort of imputation about how the chair conducted himself is unparliamentary. I do not think I can be silent when I hear those allegations made again by Mr Humphries. Obviously that is the story he has been given by Mr Hird and Mrs Burke, and I do not think it is correct.

I was at the deliberative meetings. I understand that the estimates committee process is overwhelming and that it involves a lot of work. This was particularly so for Mrs Burke, who is new to the place. I am not saying that in a condescending or patronising way. This is a very big task and it is quite possible that she was not aware of how much work was needed throughout the whole pressured estimates process to be able to respond in a useful and thoughtful way to the very complex issues that can come up.

I think that is understandable and fair enough, but it is not fair enough to say that there was no opportunity to participate, because there was. The chair encouraged our participation. I encouraged it, particularly from Mrs Burke. I can remember how it feels being a new member of an estimates committee and I could see that basically she was not quite sure what was going on. So encouragement was given. Mr Humphries is choosing to just push a line that he obviously does not know anything about. What he has said is not true and, as a member of the committee, I have to reject it.

Parts of this report are quite political. I was happy to live with that. But I was not happy to live with other parts of it and I said so. Mrs Burke and Mr Hird could have said so as well and there would have been discussion. I think that needs to be put on the record.

I notice that the government says that it will not respond to a couple of the committee's recommendations. It says that it does not consider the first recommendation-the recommendation regarding the quite significant and radical approach of the government since Mr Humphries took over from Mrs Carnell-as being appropriate. The committee basically asked for an explanation of that and the response was, no, it has got nothing to

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