Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (14 November) . . Page.. 3668 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
sharing the workload-unlike the last Assembly, where poor Harold Hird was on every committee until Jacqui Burke joined. At least the government has three members it can put on committees at this stage, the crossbenchers now have three, and the opposition has six. There is a real ability there to share the load.
In our case, most of us sit on only one committee. In the government's case, there are two committees each. The crossbenchers now have an opportunity-rather than to sit on three each, plus the house committee, to divvy it up so they can each sit on two committees. How they do that is entirely a matter for them, but I think that is a very sensible way to enable our committee system to run well.
My motion proposes that, because Mrs Cross is no longer the Liberal member on the committee, Mr Cornwell is put onto the committee. Mrs Cross' motion would make that a four-member committee. The amendment I am foreshadowing states that that situation should cease after the two inquiries are finished. I would suggest it is really a matter for the crossbenchers to work out which committees they sit on. I commend that to the house.
I have had some discussions with Mr Hargreaves. I do not know if that is going to get up or be acceptable. However, I think that way is far preferable to a skewed situation, where we end up with a couple of committees of four members and the rest with three members. I believe it would be better for everyone if we end up with three-person committees, whereby the crossbenchers divvy it up so they sit on two committees each. They can work out among themselves what they prefer to do. I note that Ms Tucker is chair of one of those committees, and she would hardly want to give that up. Between them, they should be able to work something out. I think that would be far better for the Assembly.
As we saw today, we had a situation where there was a dissenting report. There have been a couple of dissenting comments made in committee reports during the course of the past 12 months or so. In previous Assemblies, there certainly were-and I have sat on committees where I have put in dissenting reports. On a three-person committee, you can usually get at least a two-one-hopefully you get a three-nil. Quite often you get a two-one. The trouble with four-person committees is that there is a real potential for the committees to split two-all, and I do not think that is a desirable situation.
I believe that what I am proposing is tidier-it is better for the running of the Assembly. It ensures that the inquiries which Mr Hargreaves, Ms Dundas and Mrs Cross have commenced will continue with that make-up, but with the addition of Mr Cornwell, who will be our representative on that committee.
MR HARGREAVES (4.00): Mr Speaker, when I originally proposed the motion to create the standing committees for this Assembly, I had regard for the fact that, in my view, the committees were creatures of the parliament and not creatures of the party system. To a great degree, that has been honoured in practice. Very rarely-definitely not on this side of the house-has there been a difference of opinion in the committees based on politics. Any differences have perhaps been on context or content. Compromises have been reached but, essentially, I have been satisfied that the committees are in fact acting as creatures of the parliament. So I feel it is not going to