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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 202 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

with a bit of time could go back and see how often it has happened, they would find that there have certainly been a number of occasions on which amendments have been made, so the facility is there to amend the standing orders at any time.

The question is whether the task is so great that it needs a special committee, and I am not sure that has been demonstrated. It is sensible enough to allow the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure to do this. Members might raise particular standing orders that cause problems. For example, every afternoon now, every sitting day, I will get up at 5.00 o'clock and move that the house do now adjourn. There may be some good, logical reason for that-perhaps there is-but let's look at that.

However, I can easily raise that. I use that as an example. If I had a thought about that, it is that it is no trouble to get a briefing on why that standing order is there, and then to circulate something among colleagues to see if we want to change it.

One other point I would make, and I made it a number of years ago, is that, when they were first drafted, the standing orders were very, very well done. I am a person who says, "By all means change the constitution." I am not saying that, because we have a constitution here, we have to stick by it. However, the constitution, if I can use that term for standing orders, was quite well done 12 or so years ago.

It was particularly well done in one respect, in that it removed any sexist language from standing orders. In other parliaments, a lot of that sexist language is probably still there, although I guess they ought to be trying to remove it. However, great effort was made by the officers at that time to remove any hes, shes, or she/hes, and those sorts of things, and it was done quite successfully.

By all means let the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure look at areas where they see a need. I think that is the way to go.

MR CORNWELL (11.12), in reply: I will not speak for long, and I will close the debate. I want to say simply that I have a certain sense of deja vu here, because it occurs to me that we may be in a similar situation to the one we were in when we were considering the expansion of this Assembly to 21 members. We dithered around with that, in my opinion, for far too long. I believe that we have dithered around too long on the overall examination of standing orders.

Nevertheless, I accept that the majority of the Assembly will not be supporting this motion. I do not intend to force a division or waste the Assembly's time in that respect, but I do note that the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure is prepared to look at these matters. I will be delighted to take that on notice myself, and no doubt I shall be making representations to you, Mr Speaker, to clear up some of the anomalies that I believe exist in our current standing orders.

Question resolved in the negative.

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