Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 2935 ..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
ability to participate. Indeed, I have trialled some of the telecommunications equipment that you can use and it works quite well.
For that reason, we will be opposing the Labor Party's amendment to this motion. I do not see that there is any need for this to this go to the Administration and Procedure Committee. If they want to launch a larger inquiry into the conduct of committees and the standing orders that govern them, so be it. If they want to review the standing orders as promised, so be it. But at this stage there is no reason to stop it.
MS TUCKER (11.40): I would like to make just a couple points. John Hargreaves either misunderstood what I said or I was not clear. I am sure he would not intentionally misrepresent what I said, but I will just make it clear, and I am pretty sure this is what I said in terms of the committee system using numbers. I think I said several times in my presentation that history does not support that that occurs in this Assembly. History does not support that committees have been politicised, and that is exactly the point I am making-that we want to use consensus. That is what history has supported in this place. The current Assembly is continuing this-
MR SPEAKER: The question before the Assembly is an amendment to refer the matter to the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure, so you might address the amendment.
MS TUCKER: Well, it was raised in Mr Hargreaves' speech on that that I am responding to, so I think it is my right to respond to something he put in his amendment.
MR SPEAKER: You have that right when you wind up debate on the matter, but the question before the house is Mr Hargreaves' amendment.
MS TUCKER: And in his argument for that he said that I had said something I had not said. I have clarified it; it's fine.
Just on the general point of it going to the Administration and Procedure Committee: Mr Quinlan said this was a half-baked good idea. This is not my idea. I did this to try to facilitate the committee work. This came, as has already been stated several times, from Senate practice. The geographical isolation argument from Simon Corbell also seems to be curious, because clearly if someone is unable to attend a committee meeting for a particular reason and it is the committee's desire to involve that person in some way in a deliberative meeting, I would have thought that was a reasonable thing for the committee to decide.
As to the question of geographical isolation, obviously it is relevant. If a person is on the other side of the world from the committee, there is a certain aspect of geographical isolation there. If members think it is inappropriate for people to travel if there is a committee hearing, well they can say that, and maybe that is what they need to say.
The point I would like to make about this in terms of Mr Hargreaves' particular amendment is that, if the Labor Party is so concerned about this, I have no problem with it being monitored and referred to the Administration and Procedure Committee later if there is a problem. That is obvious. I cannot see what the problem is in just letting this