Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 2928 ..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
I notice that Mr Smyth chuckles. I must say that the only thing in this place I find more insulting and infuriating than his high-pitched squeal when he is losing a debate is the way he sits there and his shoulders rock with mirth when he sees or hears something that he thinks is wrong.
MR SPEAKER: Relevance, Mr Hargreaves.
MR HARGREAVES: I think it is relevant, Mr Speaker. The relevance here is that we are trying to make a committee system work and, as far as I am concerned, Mr Smyth holds the whole concept, the whole thought, in contempt.
Mr Smyth: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. That is an imputation that I hold the committee system in disregard, and I would ask him to withdraw the comment.
MR SPEAKER: Well, I hardly think that's unparliamentary.
MR STEFANIAK (11.13): I seek leave, if I need to, to move the amendment to the motion, which I have already circulated, standing in my name:
MR SPEAKER: No, you don't need leave, but you can't deal with it until we deal with Mr Hargreaves' amendment.
MR STEFANIAK: All right, but as part of my speech I will move the amendment standing in my name, Mr Speaker, and I'll speak to it.
MR SPEAKER: Well, you can't do that either.
MR STEFANIAK: Okay. I will foreshadow it.
MR SPEAKER: Deal with the amendment before us and then we can come back to yours.
MR STEFANIAK: Okay. On the substantive matter, Mr Speaker, our position-and I have circulated an amendment I will move later in relation to this debate-is that we have some grave reservations about this. We think the best way of solving the problem is by having our amendment adopted. Our position is that, if that amendment is adopted, we will support the motion. If our amendment is not adopted, we will oppose the motion. We have had a quick look at Mr Hargreaves' amendment, and I think what I will be proposing is probably better than flicking it to a committee.
If the motion, as amended by my amendment, is actually passed, we will certainly be keeping a very close eye on this.
Ms Tucker indicates that in the Senate there is, indeed, this provision, and, on the face of it, there does seem to be some reason in having individual committees adopt this course. I would counsel against that in virtually all circumstances. We accept that there may be some circumstances where a face-to-face meeting is impossible and where maybe a committee might decide to do this. I hope we actually do not see that, because I think it is far preferable for all members to be there, at deliberative meetings, to give their opinions. It is far easier, I think, delivering it that way than actually doing a hook-up.