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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2252 ..

Amendment agreed to.

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer) (9.56): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to move amendments 2 and 3 circulated in my name together.

Leave granted.

MR HUMPHRIES: I move amendments 2 and 3 circulated in my name [see schedule 2 at page 2280].

One of the concerns the government has about the bill presently before the Assembly is that it, in effect, provides for an automatic referral of every Auditor's report to the public accounts committee. I think that would be unnecessary and excessive. The capacity of the Assembly to refer a matter to the public accounts committee remains. As I understand the act, the capacity of the Auditor to refer a matter to the public accounts committee is also retained. But the automatic and inevitable reference of every report of the Auditor to the public accounts committee is unnecessary, in my view. It is better, therefore, not to have paragraph 4 (c) or paragraph 5 (e) in section 17.

MR QUINLAN (9.57): Mr Speaker, I cannot say that I agree with that sentiment. I think there should be a process of referral. However, I do not intend to support clause 4, so I will not speak to the point further.

Amendments agreed to.

MR QUINLAN (9.58): I am still not satisfied with the out-of-session tabling of reports. I presume that the deal has been done. I got that message, but I did check with the Clerk and the one point that has not been made is that we are giving up the Assembly's prerogative to decide whether or not a report is to be published.

Mr Humphries said that he has every confidence in the incumbent in the position, but there could arise an occasion when an Auditor-General is a little bit peeved or miffed with some incident and decides that he wants to put out a report without going through the Assembly. Effectively, all he has to do is give it to the Speaker. Once it has gone to the Speaker, it is automatically published and it is out there. This Assembly will have had no say. This Assembly will have automatically granted it privilege but will never have seen it.

I know we do it in this place in a fairly ritualistic fashion, but we should know that the effect of these provisions is that a report could go straight through the system and be out on the street without this Assembly having actively given its approval. By the death of these provisions here, it would have that approval attached to it. I am concerned about that, so I will not be supporting this clause.

Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 5.


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