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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3087 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

withdraw the right to have certain proceedings broadcast, and equally, and most importantly, the bill sets out powers for this place to set in relation to how matters shall be broadcast and the way those broadcasts are conducted.

Mr Speaker, this bill is an important reform in further opening up the broadcast and the operations of the Assembly. The bill also makes provision for electronic broadcasting such as over the Internet, through techniques such as audio or video streaming, and this approach is one which is also to be welcomed. Streaming already occurs in the Commonwealth parliament, as well, I understand, in at least one state parliament. Perhaps that is an approach which is worthy for this Assembly. Clearly, in a small city such as ours there may not be the demand or the interest for a broadcast in the way that the federal parliament is broadcast, but having the proceedings of the Assembly streamed through the internet would allow anyone interested in the proceedings of a particular debate to listen to them in real time over the internet, and I think that would be a considerable advance.

I think the other advance that is worthwhile and that I welcome, Mr Speaker, is one related to question time. It has always struck me as ironic that citizens of the ACT are more likely to see the proceedings of the New South Wales parliament's question time than they are to see their own parliament's question time. In the news broadcasts that we receive from Sydney we quite regularly see footage of question time in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council, but I do not think I have ever seen on local TV a question asked and a question answered in the Legislative Assembly. I think it is about time that that changed. This bill will allow such broadcasts to occur, albeit that-

Mr Wood: The questions are fine but I don't know about the answers.

MR CORBELL: Mr Wood interjects that the questions are fine but the answers are not all that flash. Perhaps broadcasts may assist, Mr Wood. Mr Speaker, the bill makes provision for the Assembly to set down the rules in which broadcasts take place, and that is very important in ensuring that the operations of this place are properly protected.

The final issue the Labor Party welcomes in this bill relates to matters of privilege. During the inquiry by the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure there was a question about how issues of privilege would be dealt with if matters in the Assembly were broadcast, particularly broadcast live. I am pleased to say that those issues seem to have been adequately addressed in the current legislation. Having got over that hurdle, I think it is now appropriate that the Assembly move on and pass this bill which will allow more open broadcasting of all proceedings of the Assembly, not just those proceedings that members themselves deem to be significant enough.

Sitting suspended from 6.00 to 7.30 pm

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (7.30): Mr Speaker, I want to speak very briefly to the bill. I indicate my support for the proposal to enhance or facilitate additional broadcasting of Assembly procedures. I think this is a very good initiative, which has the potential to make the Assembly more relevant to the people it serves.

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