Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3899 ..
MR STEFANIAK: We may not. But it just makes sense to do that there. Basically, the crossbenchers will get their first choice, something they are really keen to get involved with, and one other committee and they will all bring great contributions to them, no doubt.
I think that this motion keeps the Assembly very much in line with what we decided in November of last year, with what the standing orders state in terms of the composition of committees, and with what has been working very well to date in this Assembly. The problem with having committees of four members, two of whom are from the crossbench, is that that really does skew the situation in that it puts additional burdens on a number of members-already, two of the crossbench members are on three committees plus the house committee, which is quite onerous as they have all sorts of other things to do-and it contravenes standing order 221. I do not think that that situation is terribly desirable. The motion Ms Dundas has put is eminently sensible. She has done a lot of work in relation to it and it is certainly very worthy of support. Accordingly, the opposition will be doing that.
MR HARGREAVES (11.47): I will not take very long in speaking to Ms Dundas' motion. Firstly, she talks about discharging Ms Tucker and appointing herself to the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs. That is none of our business, Mr Speaker, so we do not have any quarrel with that. It is their right to do whatever they want in that regard and we do not have a problem with that part of the motion.
I do not have a problem with the attempt by Ms Dundas to discharge herself from the Standing Committee on Community Services and Social Equity at the end of the current inquiry, except that I would be sorry to see her go because I think that she has been a great contributor to it. But it is Ms Dundas' right to discharge herself and seek appointment to whatever committee she likes. Again, we do not have a problem with those parts of the motion.
We do have a problem with the other two parts of the motion. When I was thinking about the position of this side of the house on supporting the motion or otherwise, I was a bit worried that, if we knocked them off, we would preclude anyone doing so again within 12 months. I am now advised that standing order 136 says that the 12-month period ticks over in a calendar year; so, if you still wanted to do those two things, you could bring them back in February and they could be effected. If this motion does not get up, it is not a forever thing as far as those two passages of the motion are concerned.
Mr Speaker, the amendments that I was moving before were merely machinery amendments to Mrs Cross' motion to enable a member who wants to be appointed to a committee, to contribute to committee work, to be able to do so. It was merely a facilitation amendment and I have foreshadowed a further amendment which will, I hope, enhance that perspective.
However, Mr Speaker, we cannot support this motion on two levels. Firstly, we do not believe that it is the Assembly's position to dictate what the opposition, the crossbench or the government do internally. I do not think that that is right at all. That is not our job. The people concerned can sort out their own internal difficulties. We did not seek to have Mrs Cross reinstated as a member of the Liberal Party when they chose to render