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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (14 November) . . Page.. 3671 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

order 221 is not consistent with this motion, and that the Assembly should suspend the standing order if it wishes to pass this motion brought forward by Mrs Cross.

I assume the thrust of this is that Mrs Cross wants to be a member of the Standing Committee on Community Services and Social Equity and the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment. I think that is perfectly fair. I do not see any reason why she should not be a member of those committees. As I understand it, she is already a member of the first of those committees, and she wants to go on the Planning and Environment Committee. That is not a decision for the Liberal Party, that is a decision, I think, for the crossbenchers. If that is what is decided on, I have no problem with that.

The crossbench numbers are relatively small in this Assembly. There are only three members of the crossbench. To have them double-up on two committees seems to me to be an unnecessary duplication. It means Ms Dundas, who is a member of both these committees, having to serve on three committees of the Assembly. Ms Tucker at the moment is serving on four committees, including the Administration and Procedure Committee.

Mr Stefaniak: So is Ms Dundas.

MR HUMPHRIES: Four including those-or five. We will put aside the Administration and Procedure Committee.

Looking at other committees for the time being, apart from those to which I have just referred, Ms Tucker is on three standing committees-and Ms Dundas is also on three standing committees. It would seem to me, given the pressure members of the crossbench are under, to make sense-and accord with standing order 221-to have each crossbencher on two standing committees. That would appear to be a logical way of sharing the workload. To me, it seems to mean that the opportunity both Ms Tucker and Ms Dundas would have to vacate a committee or two, in favour of Mrs Cross, is being foregone by this motion. There is no particular logic to it.

It is true that, in the last Assembly, there was a four-member committee, including two crossbenchers. I am not entirely sure why it was adopted but the arrangement appeared to suit all concerned at the time-the crossbenchers, the government and the opposition. I do not know whether this arrangement suits the crossbenchers today, but I do not want to have to be working-

It being 45 minutes after the commencement of Assembly business, the debate was interrupted in accordance with standing order 77. Ordered that the time allotted to Assembly business be extended by 30 minutes.

MR HUMPHRIES: In conclusion, Mr Speaker, the opportunity for an additional crossbench member, to relieve the pressure on existing crossbench members on committees, will be lost if this motion-or the effect of this motion-is carried through. We have a chance here to distribute the workload better among members. As it is, that opportunity has not presented itself to the members of the crossbench. Therefore, I think it is a strange motion to be dealing with.

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