Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 200 ..
MR CORNWELL (continuing):
I therefore feel that that committee will probably be faced with the same predicament in the next three years, and that perhaps it might be easier to appoint a small select committee to look at this matter, therefore relieving some of the pressure on that standing committee.
However, I also believe that reviewing these standing orders does not simply require amending or deleting our existing set. We could also look at adding or, indeed, changing the standing orders. One of the things that interest me-and I think this is conducted in the Senate, although I could stand corrected-is a sin bin arrangement, whereby members are not thrown out for a statutory three hours, but simply asked to leave the chamber for around 10 minutes, to allow the passions that are engendered in the fierce debates that take place to cool down.
These are matters, as I say, that this committee could examine in the overall examination of the ACT Assembly's standing orders, and I commend the motion to the house.
MR HARGREAVES (11.03): The government will not be supporting this motion. There are a number of reasons. We do appreciate that standing orders ought to be a living document that reflects the changes in the way members perceive their role within the chamber, and the way that behaviour can be governed, determined, and indicated to members.
The standing orders are a guide to how we actually conduct business here and certainly, as things change, they should change also. However, there is a vehicle already in existence that has, as its responsibility, the standing orders of this place, in fact the total administration of this place, and that is the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure. Now, that standing committee actually uniquely comprises, I think, the Speaker, and four other members in this Assembly. It contains a member of the government, a member of the opposition, and all of the crossbench.
We therefore have a vehicle for expressions of discontent and irritation, and for suggestions about change, both positive and negative. We have a vehicle to deal with these matters. All of our committees were created in a spirit of cooperation and, I would hope, consensus. In the committee meetings in which I have already participated, I have seen evidence of goodwill that follows on from the fourth Assembly.
I would assume that the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure will contain as much goodwill as the rest of them. In fact, I would expect that it will have as much goodwill as the rest of them, and that it will take its job particularly seriously, because it has two roles. One is the determination of such things as the daily program. It has a purely advisory role, advising the Speaker on the administration of the budget, and so on, for the Assembly, but it also has the job of guardian of the standards of this Assembly.
I therefore believe that there is already a committee that could receive referrals for specific issues. I do not think there is any need for a general inquiry into standing orders, because it will just wander off on tangents all over the place. However, if there are specific concerns about specific standing orders, they can be referred to the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure to investigate and report on to the