Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 201 ..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
Assembly. If that happens, and if the committee is being conducted in a spirit of goodwill, I think we will have a positive result to report to the Assembly.
That is the first reason, and I will just go over that again: there is an existing standing committee that has the charter to look after the administration of this place, and to look into the procedure of this place. Standing orders address procedure and so too, of course, does the title of that standing committee-Administration and Procedure-the procedure bit talks about standing orders.
The second reason, and the big one, is that we are being asked to create a select committee to look into standing orders, one of which says that we cannot do so. Standing order 217 says,
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.
I would argue that what we are seeking to do here falls within the responsibilities of the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure. What we are saying here is that we want to have a select committee to look into standing orders, notwithstanding one which says we cannot do it. I think that is the silver bullet on this one.
Mr Speaker, the government will not be supporting the motion, and I would urge members who have a concern about particular standing orders to raise them with your good self for inclusion on the agenda of the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure. Then, when we get together and discuss these things, we can receive the concerns of members and actually improve the functioning of this place.
MS TUCKER (11.08): I will not be supporting this motion, either, for similar reasons to those Mr Hargreaves gave on behalf of Labor.
I understand Mr Cornwell's argument that it is a big task, and that that is why he thought there was an argument for a select committee. I agree that it is a big task, but I do not actually think it needs to be such a big task. I think it is within the terms of reference of the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure. I think that, if people have particular issues with any particular standing orders, those should be referred to the standing committee to see if there is the will to examine it.
In my view, the Assembly has to have the will-not just the committee-to look at particular standing orders. There may well be some that should be examined, and I am open to that. Mr Cornwell raised a few examples. I know I had concerns about a couple in the last Assembly, so I think it is a perfectly valid thing to take a look at particular standing orders. If people want to do that they can. However, I think, at this point in time, we do not want a full inquiry into all the standing orders in a select committee or in the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure.
MR WOOD(Minister for Urban Services and Minister for the Arts) (11.10): Mr Speaker, it has already been pointed out that the government will not be supporting Mr Cornwell's motion. There is a committee charged with looking at these things and, over the years, there have been a number of changes to the standing orders. If someone