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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 3 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 692 ..

Administration and Procedure-Standing Committee

Report No 1

Debate resumed from 21 February 20002, on motion by Mr Hargreaves:

That the report be noted.

MR CORNWELL (11.00): Mr Speaker, this report has an extremely long genesis. The Assembly initially debated this matter in May 1995 when a private members bill was introduced in relation to the broadcasting of proceedings at the Assembly. Subsequently, a draft bill was introduced and that draft bill was carried by the Assembly in 1997.

Subsequent to that, in August 2001 last year, in the previous Assembly, a bill was again carried in support of broadcasting regulations. This report is therefore not addressing the actual legislation in relation to broadcasting; it is covering the conditions for broadcast of the Assembly chamber and the Assembly committee proceedings.

These guidelines were drawn up by the current administration and procedure committee, the committee which has had carriage of this matter ever since it was first introduced to the Assembly in May 1995, when the private members bill was referred to it.

I repeat: the broadcasts themselves have been agreed by this Assembly; the conditions are what we are examining in this report. It is proposed that all proceedings of the Assembly and its committees automatically be allowed to be broadcast, subject to certain guidelines. You could probably say of this arrangement that, if you do not want a broadcast, you have to contract out rather than contract in.

All the Assembly and its committees will automatically be allowed to broadcast all proceedings, subject to certain guidelines laid down in forms to be completed and agreed to by those wishing to broadcast or receive a broadcast. Those groups could be the media for the broadcasting and recording of the broadcast or for the live audio broadcast to public servants working in their offices. They cover both the Assembly itself and its committee hearings, as I said earlier.

Provision has been made in the report for witnesses at public hearings who do not want their comments broadcast and for the right of the Speaker or the committee chair to withdraw the right to broadcast. There are also rules for camera crews filming in the chamber and the committees.

I believe that the benefits of this broadcasting procedure will be to public servants, who can monitor the debate on legislation in their area of responsibility from their own offices, and members of the community, who will be in a position to judge for themselves the performance of their elected representatives.

The Assembly does not have a current permanent policy on this matter. It is long overdue. There is some urgency because it is intended that these new rules and regulations be introduced for the next sitting of the Assembly. That is my understanding; Mr Hargreaves can correct me if I am wrong. Is there a wish to introduce it for the next sitting of the Assembly, Mr Hargreaves?

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