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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3898 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

Having another member there would go against what we resolved at the start of this Assembly and it is important to recognise that. So, with Mrs Cross' status now changing, she would remain there and we would put Mr Cornwell on the committee. Obviously, a member would come off at the end of that inquiry. Ms Dundas' proposal is very much along those lines. She is proposing that that committee go to four members for the duration of that inquiry, which would allow Mr Cornwell to go on to the committee. Mr Speaker, I have here a letter for you to put him on as the Liberal Party's nominee and, following that inquiry, Ms Dundas would be discharged. That committee would then revert to a committee of three.

We went into the standing orders briefly last Thursday and they are really quite clear here. Standing order 220 says that a committee shall consist of not more than seven members, unless otherwise ordered. It would be very difficult to have seven-member committees in such a small Assembly. Standing order 221 is a very important standing order. It says:

Membership of committees shall be composed of representatives of all groups and parties in the Assembly as nearly as practicable proportional to their representation in the Assembly.

In November of last year we established standing committees consisting of three members-one government, one opposition and one crossbench-and I think that they have worked well. The membership is not strictly proportional, but it is pretty close. If you wanted to be more strict, I suppose you could have a membership of 2:2:1 or even 3:2:2, if you wanted to have committees of seven, but that would be impractical for an Assembly of the size of this Assembly, given the fact that we do have six standing committees, together with the Administration and Procedure Committee, the house committee.

I think that it is highly desirable that the decision we took in November continue. The crossbencher members, I understand, have made an attempt to work out what should happen. There are three crossbench members and there are six standing committees. It is logical that they be divvied up two each. Ms Dundas' motion is an attempt to strike a very good compromise here. She has indicated that each crossbench member should be on the committee of first choice, the one they are really happy to be on, and one other committee. I am glad she corrected herself when she spoke of members having membership of a committee in which they are interested, as if they are not going to be interested in the other committees, by saying that they are interested in all committees, and they are.

I know that Ms Tucker is very interested in all her committees, likes all of them, and, if this motion were to succeed, would actually leave my committee and Ms Dundas would be appointed in her place. If that were to occur, Ms Tucker, I would be very sorry to see you go, as I have said in committee. Obviously, there are things which you have to compromise on and give up, and so be it.

Ms Dundas: It doesn't look like we will need farewell drinks.

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