Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 2934 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

Why are we afraid of that? I do not understand why you would stand in the way in of something that has been operating in the Senate and the House of Representatives for at least five years and something that allows us all to do more with the time that we spend as members in this place, whether we be in the ACT or not. It is up to the discretion of the committee to make the telephone call. So, if there is a member who is astray and does not want to come to work, I suspect the committee will not ring that person, and therefore the standing order will not be abused. Now it is a temporary standing order.

Mr Quinlan: Get some guidelines then.

MR SMYTH: Mr Quinlan interjects, "Get some guidelines." Well, I am happy to see you put some guidelines together if you want, but it does not mean that we should stop this from happening immediately. This can happen immediately. I could have held a deliberative meeting last week by telecommunications and been totally within the guidelines that are the standing orders of this Assembly.

But when I asked the secretary of my committee to arrange such a facility, he spoke to the secretary of committees and in discussion they said, "Look, wouldn't it be better if we just used Ms Tucker's motion as a way of doing it so that the Assembly knows exactly what we're doing?". And that, I think, is an appropriate thing to do. But I am just amazed that in this day and age we want to stay with the horse-and-cart attitude of the members of the Labor Party that wants to delay something they seemingly don't like.

Somebody said there would be negative connotations for the way that people might view how the Assembly operates. The only negative connotation is that coming from those opposite who do not seem to be supportive of this motion. And you have to actually ask why. Is it that they want to set up the guidelines and do it properly, or is it that they just have a gripe that some members are doing more work than others-that some members are actually travelling overseas and that some members do, on other committees indeed, go interstate? I have to say, I think that anything that allows us to do our job, do it better and involve all members of a committee, or all members of the Assembly, more in the processes of the Assembly is a step forward. It cannot be a step backwards. If it allows us to use our time more wisely and to achieve more, then I say that we should be getting on with it.

Mr Hargreaves wants to send it off to the Administration and Procedure Committee. Look, if there is to be a review of all the standing orders, let us review the whole lot. And, if there is something that is not working, we will deal with it-and I am not aware of anything that is so badly not working that we have to change something. But this is simply a clarification. As the chair of a committee, I can do this now. Now, we discussed this in the party room this morning and came up with the amendment that says "when face to face meetings are impossible". I think it speaks for itself.

Ideally, what you would have is all members in the room to make sure that they are all heard freely. But, if you cannot and something is important and it's pending and you want a decision quickly so that perhaps other members of the Assembly can discuss it, or the community is waiting on the outcome, why not hold the meeting using telecommunications? There is no reason not to. I do not believe there will be any abuse of this. Committee members will self-regulate it. They will make sure that it works properly. When we have this up and running I think committee members will enjoy the

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .