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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 2924 ..

230A (continuing):

particular mechanism in good faith and that we need extra guidelines to actually ensure that, in some way, this order is not abused. I think that is a pretty disappointing position in terms of the confidence that people are showing in members of this place, and I do not see that there is any history to support that lack of confidence. I must say, I found it a very surprising response this morning to hear that.

This measure is about trying to facilitate the work of committees and, if people don't want to support it, obviously that is their choice, but it could mean delays in committee proceedings. If a majority of committee members decided they would proceed with a deliberative meeting without the third member being present, particularly if it was against the wishes of the person not present, I think that would also be a very disappointing precedent, and one that is not supported by what has happened in the past in this place with committees. I think the logical conclusion would have to be that it would just mean that committee work was delayed.

The reason I am moving this motion is that I want to facilitate the committee work and not cause delays, particularly if I am at the moment working also as regional representative for the Australian region. In that capacity I am required to be away on occasions, and this was a way to try to not let that particular responsibility get in the way of committee work. So I hope that we do get support for this.

MR HARGREAVES (10.58): Mr Speaker, I move this amendment to the motion:

Omit "adopted", substitute "be referred to the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure for inquiry and report".

For Mr Stefaniak's information, I move this amendment because I believe the proposed order touches on all sorts of machinery that has got to do with leave and all the rest of it, and that is the only reason for the jump.

This side does not wish people to think that we are trying to do something which makes life on committees difficult. In fact, I take that as an insult; I am quite affronted by that suggestion. I also take as an affront the suggestion that any opposition we might have to this sort of motion suggests that the committees would not operate in good faith. I think that is a disgusting and abhorrent suggestion. In fact, I remind members of the construction of the committee structure when we first came into this Assembly. It would have been all too easy to have constructed the committee structure in this Assembly along proportional lines-there would be no crossbench members on the committees at all. But that wasn't the aim. The aim in fact was to be as constructive as we possibly could so that the interests of the Assembly chamber would be represented on these committees as best we could.

I find a difficulty with this motion on a number of fronts. I believe that politics and process are involved here. I will address my concerns about the process in a minute. However, I am finding the politics of it a little bit difficult to deal with also.

What we see, quite frankly, is some members saying, "We don't really need an increase in the number of members-or, if we do, a marginal one would be fine. And now we are saying that, because a member is away out of town, we have to have a change in the procedure to cope with that. More members would solve that problem.

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