Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 199 ..
MR CORNWELL (continuing):
Perhaps I should explain the preamble of the motion, which is that 217 states:
The Assembly may appoint select committees but the terms of reference of such committees shall not include matters within the responsibility of any standing committee.
It could be argued that this matter is within the responsibility of the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure, but I will come to that a bit later on.
Members, we have 275 standing orders for this Assembly, which have largely been inherited from the federal parliament. I think we lifted our standing orders from the House of Representatives in 1989, when this Assembly was established. That is 12 years ago. I believe that, despite the fact that some amendments have been made over this period, it is high time that we reviewed this set of standing orders, and adapted them for the use of this, the ACT Legislative Assembly.
We have certainly made a few amendments over the period. I would remind members of standing order 118A, which requires ministers to answer questions on the notice paper within 30 days. This is an initiative that was taken by this Assembly, and it has certainly been one that I would commend. However, the point I am making is that no overall examination of our standing orders has been conducted. At best, we have carried out piecemeal improvements and changes. I believe this should now be corrected.
No doubt, individual members will have particular standing orders they would wish to see amended, deleted, or whatever. I do not want to try to identify all of these, because I think that they can be the subject of representations by individual members to the select committee that I am proposing. However, I would just remind members of a few of the standing orders with which we have had some problems in the past.
The somewhat notorious standing order 52, entitled reflections on a vote of the Assembly, has caused us many problems, over time. I would like to see that particular standing order examined. Time limits for debates, in standing order 69: people might like to have a look and see whether those times are long enough. Some members may think they are not long enough at all. I trust that would not be the case, but that is a personal view.
I flag the questions of personal explanations in standing order 46, and the misquotes and misunderstandings dealt with in standing order 47, not because I believe that they should necessarily be changed, but to indicate the areas that we could examine. Other members will no doubt think that other areas of standing orders could be amended.
I have suggested in my motion that the Assembly should establish a select committee, rather than referring this matter to the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure. However, I have to advise members that I do not feel strongly about this matter. The only reason I am suggesting the select committee is that I think the standing committee will probably find itself busy with a lot of other matters as time goes by. As members of the previous standing committee would be well aware, we had some difficulty in completing reports, certainly over the last 61/2 years while I was Speaker.