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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3897 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

how it operates which have been accepted by Ms Tucker and me in a spirit of cooperation and a desire to get on with the work of the Assembly that we have all been elected to do.

The allocation of committee duties is the final reconfiguration that needs to occur. I believe that I have put together a compromise position, as articulated in my motion. This motion, if accepted by the Assembly, will ensure that each crossbench member will have duties on two standing committees. We have three crossbench members and six committees. It seems sensible that we share the load and work on two committees each. The debate comes down to making a decision on the two committees on which each crossbench member will serve.

I believe that acceptance of my motion would mean that no crossbench member would get membership of both of the two committees that they first wished for, but each crossbench member would get it of one committee that they are committed to. We are committed to all of our committees, let me make that clear, but a committee of first choice. Key to the proposal is that all committees would remain at the make-up of three members. That was a decision that was taken at the beginning and it is a decision that I think works well in terms of there being no doubling up of the committee workload across any sector of the Assembly.

Also, the proposal would not stop other members of the Assembly participating in what the committees are doing that they are not serving on. We have seen, especially in estimates, members come along and ask questions in public hearings and be able to gather information and put forward ideas for other members of Assembly committees to consider. I believe that the arrangement that I have put forward will ensure that the committee work that has been done successfully over the past year by the Assembly will continue.

I reiterate that the expansion of the crossbench from two members to three members was not foreseen or wanted. This proposal is an effort to accommodate what has resulted from the ongoing events of the last six months and to bring about what I believe is the most sensible solution for the crossbench concerning the associated committee duties that come with the change in the make-up of this Assembly. I hope that the Assembly will see the merit of my motion. I know that there are some concerns with it and I am happy to have debate on it, as we have been having for the last number of days, but I do hope that the Assembly will see the need to share the workload evenly among all of us who participate in this Assembly and that we will reach a speedy resolution on matter, so that we can continue focusing on the real issues and the work that we have been elected to do.

MR STEFANIAK (11.42): Mr Speaker, the opposition will be supporting this motion by Ms Dundas. As she says, the situation isn't an easy one to resolve, but the motion is a very sensible compromise. The motion is very similar to an amendment I had previously which could not proceed because my substantive motion was lost in that it recognises that the CSSE Committee-the Standing Committee on Community Services and Social Equity, as it is formally called-is conducting an inquiry and the three members of that committee should remain there to finish that inquiry. That is very important to the running of the Assembly.

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