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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 2927 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

accommodate those concerns. So my attempt at an accommodation, and to separate the politics from the process, is to have the Administration and Procedure Committee consider it.

I also remind the chamber of the constitution of the Administration and Procedure Committee. The Administration and Procedure Committee is not constituted on party lines. You think about it. This chamber is. This chamber votes proportionally, and according to party rooms-or, in the case of Ms Dundas, the party room. But the Administration and Procedure Committee is not. It has two members of the government, one member of the opposition and both members of the crossbench-all members of the crossbench. I have found, since I have been on the Administration and Procedure Committee, that it produces a non-partisan report. We have had some tetchiness, sure, but it is certainly non-partisan. I don't think the members have necessarily and in all cases conducted themselves as representing their party view; they have actually contributed their own view, and I think that is a nice place to have this discussion and bring it back.

Of course, I don't know when the last Administration and Procedure Committee recommendation coming forward to the Assembly was not accepted by the Assembly. Again, I think the best possible way in which an accommodation can be reached-and it doesn't have to take a cubic fortnight for this to happen-is for the Administration and Procedure Committee to look at it. If it comes back and says, "Heck, it doesn't mean anything at all; it's fine under the standing orders," well, I will accept that quite happily, but that is not the way I see it at the minute. If it says, "We recommend that we create a standing order allowing for this and that at the bottom of it it says, 'But the chair must seek the approval of the Speaker to incur the costs'," then I am happy to accept that too.

So I recommend the amendment to the Assembly in good faith. I, for my own, would like to see an accommodation of this. I would like to see the committee system work better. I believe that we need more members on those committees, and the only way we are going to do that is to substantially increase the membership of this Assembly, so that the committee system can work a lot better than it has.

I have stood up in this place on a number of occasions and been sympathetic to the workload that Mr Hird was undertaking-and that Ms Tucker and Ms Dundas have got because there are only two of them against the rest of us, in terms of the membership of these things and the amount of committees that they sit on. I have sat on, and sit on, a number of committees myself and I do understand the amount of work that is required if you are prepared to put it in. You can sit on your backside and do absolutely sod-all if you like, but I know that this Assembly does not have people in it like that.

So I am sympathetic to that. I do want to see the committee system work, and I don't want to stand in the way of it working well. But I want to find a way out that we can all embrace and be committed to, and flicking it to the Administration and Procedure Committee is not a flick; it is a genuine attempt to find that accommodation and bring it forward.

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