Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 49 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
the committees had become indulgent and lazy and, indeed, had failed to focus on their task appropriately in the Fourth Assembly. It is our determination to make sure that that process is reversed in the Fifth Assembly. The Liberal members who serve on those committees will work diligently to ensure that the work of those committees is addressed appropriately.
Mr Speaker, I understand that members will be nominating to these committees. There is in fact a provision in the motion to provide for nomination and I am sure the standing orders cover this. I look forward to the formation of the committees. The Liberal Party later on this week will have some motions to move regarding early references to those committees which we hope members of this place will support. I support the motion.
MS TUCKER (12.09): I will speak briefly to the motion. I also support this structure of the committees. Obviously no one model is going to be perfect in terms of how we arrange the responsibilities of committees. The points Mr Humphries made about shadowing ministers are fair enough. But the obvious benefit of this kind of arrangement is that you can challenge the often very fragmented work of government in terms of the fact that individual portfolio areas or departments work in isolation from each other.
The committee work that I have been involved in, particularly in the social area, has shown me quite clearly that it is extremely difficult for governments to take an intersectoral approach to issues. Departments have a difficulty in coordinating their work and working with each other in the way that is obviously necessary, and we often see people falling through gaps in the community as a result of this fragmentation of the work of government.
As I have said, one of the advantages of a committee structure like this is that we could re-introduce the intersectoral approach we had in the First Assembly in respect of certain committees. But obviously, as I said, there are going to be benefits and perhaps issues in whatever model we choose.
I was concerned to hear Mr Humphries say once again in such general terms that the committees of the last Assembly were failing. I would prefer him to be more specific in those criticisms. I know the committee work I was involved in mostly had, in fact, unanimous reports. If Mr Humphries is suggesting that his Liberal member on that committee was failing, he can do so. But I think the majority of committee work of the last Assembly was in fact very good, thorough and comprehensive. A couple of committees were perhaps more political. But it is disappointing to hear Mr Humphries make such a general statement, because I think it is quite incorrect and he needs to be more specific.
The other point I would make is that obviously Roslyn Dundas and I are the only two members on the crossbench. We are going to have a heavy committee workload. Obviously I am prepared to do the work and I have proved that I can. I think Roslyn Dundas will also do that. She has shown already a keen capacity to understand the issues and to put the hard yards in. So you can be assured this will happen. I am not speaking on behalf of Ms Dundas, but I think it is fair enough to say that we will be working very hard.