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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 8 Hansard (27 June) . . Page.. 2312 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

This model would allow electorates to be constructed from Tuggeranong (six members), Belconnen (six members), Gungahlin and North Canberra (five members), and South Canberra and Woden/Weston (six members). I would argue that that provides the greatest possibility of accommodating community interest being accommodated. The current three-electorate system splits communities. Whilst this is not new around Australia-in fact, it is probably the norm-Canberra has the opportunity to combine community of interest around geographical landmarks and, more importantly, honour the one vote, one value principle.

The notion of proportionality must be weighed against the notion that the greater the number of members in a smaller number of electorates, the greater the chance of proportional representation and the better the chance of diversity of views. This sacrifices the possibility of a member having greater familiarity with an electorate, which could be achieved by a larger number of electorates represented by a smaller number of members. The five-electorate system seems to work well in Tasmania, although the reduction to 25 members in the Legislative Assembly has not met with great acceptance among the parties in that state.

I am sure that the statement that greater proportionality creates a greater diversity of views is regarded by members in my party, and no doubt the Liberal Party, as an insult. We have party processes and structures which allow for diversity of views. In my party the sub-branch system, the branch council and the annual conference are vehicles for people with widely diverse views. The Liberals have been accused of having wets and drys. We have left and right. If that is not a diversity of views, I do not know what is. I can assure this Assembly from my delightful conversations with members of the delightful left wing of my party that there definitely is a diversity of views.

I turn now to parliamentary contribution. The role of committees in the Assembly and the involvement of members in debates on legislation, motions and matters of public importance should also be a contributing factor in determining the appropriate size of the Legislative Assembly.

In the current Assembly there are six standing committees addressing policy issues and there is the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure. There are also a number of select committees addressing specific issues. There are select committees on estimates, privileges and services to women.

Each committee, except for Administration and Procedure, has only three members. The size of the committees is dictated by two factors. The first is the need to ensure that the three elements within the Assembly-that is, government, opposition and crossbench-are represented equally and not proportionally. The second factor is the number of non-executive members from which the government can draw committee members.

I state as strongly as I can that the committee system in the Legislative Assembly is a creature of the parliament and not a creature of the proportional numbers sitting in this chamber. We need to keep that in the front of our heads. I acknowledge that there is a heavy workload for government backbenchers and for crossbenchers. In the current Assembly there are three government backbenchers, so each of them serves on at least two committees. The crossbench is represented on all committees, with the workload

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