Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 1945 ..
MR CORNWELL (continuing):
In other words, before the committee's recommendations were even considered by the Assembly, Labor had already decided to pick up those pieces, namely the key findings, that it regarded as being of worth.
I suggest to you, Mr Speaker, this is gross disrespect to the Assembly. I do not object to the government of the day-the new government, the old government, it does not matter-accepting or rejecting recommendations of any committee of this Assembly. This is standard procedure and we all know it.
But I do object to any government deciding without consultation with this Assembly, simply assuming that it will decide what the key findings of a committee report may be. I think this is the first occasion-certainly that I can remember-that this has happened. I hope it will be the last.
The Assembly has a right, having received a report of a committee of the Assembly, to have a government response to that report so it may, or may not as the case may be, be debated by the Assembly. It is not the right of the government of the day to simply take over and pick up the recommendations that it sees fit. That is quite improper.
I believe that this Assembly still has a right to look at the government's response to this report, so that we can-and I am talking about a comprehensive response to all 14 recommendations by the date that Ms Dundas has nominated in her motion. I have no problem about that.
I am sorry that the Chief Minister and Minister for Health, who has responsibility for this matter, has left the chamber-has indeed, I repeat, dingoed out of responding, I believe, to this fairly important matter.
I have no objection, and the Liberal Party has no objection, to Ms Dundas' motion on this matter. I repeat: we do not necessarily understand or comprehend the details raised by the report, but that is not the responsibility of the Assembly. The important thing is that the report has to be received and has to be debated, and, frankly, I am appalled that this government, having received that report, has not seen fit to come back to the Assembly with its decisions relating to the report but instead wishes to set up some committee to have a look at it.
Why don't you accept some responsibilities? Why do you set up the committee before you bring your responses to this report back to this Assembly? I don't mind you setting up a committee-in fact it might be a very responsible, sensible thing to do-but please bring back to this Assembly your responses to the Assembly's committee report before you proceed further.
Now that is a criticism of the government. So far as Ms Dundas' motion is concerned, we support it, and we hope that you will take aboard the comments of the opposition.
MR WOOD(Minister for Urban Services and Minister for the Arts) (3.45): Mr Speaker, I have often thought, in the six months I have been on this side of the chamber, that I would give Mr Cornwell an award-an award for being able to show or feign the