Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2263 ..
MRS DUNNE: Excuse me! Mr Deputy Speaker, we try as much as possible to listen to people in silence and when we are actually talking about the hardworking-
Mr Corbell: Oh, Mrs Dunne!
MRS DUNNE: I try as much as everyone else. We are talking about the work that is done by the hardworking staff of this place and all Mr Corbell can do is snipe and snarl. He may not like the work that is done by the Planning and Environment Committee, but it is important work and the people who do it and the people who support the committee are hardworking. As he spoke before, he should not show such discourtesy to the members of this place and the staff of this place.
As I was saying before I was rudely interrupted by the minister, the staff of the Planning and Environment Committee, who have just turned out their 19th report and are writing their 20th and 21st reports at the moment, do an enormous amount of work in a very underresourced area, and that is replicated on committee after committee after committee. We have seen the sterling work done by the Estimates Committee in providing its report. One committee secretary did so with some technical support, whereas in most other parliaments there would be a number of committees.
In the federal parliament there are eight, but in other parliaments there might be three or four committees doing the work of one committee here. Most importantly, Mr Deputy Speaker, the work here is done by one committee secretary, so that when members of the committee go home the committee secretary sits down to do the work, and that is the thing that is derided by this minister. It is about time that we sat down as a group and made some serious decisions about resourcing this place so that we serve the people of the ACT better.
MR CORBELL(Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (11.36): I have to respond, Mr Deputy Speaker, simply to make the point that it is interesting that in the past seven years of the Liberal Party being in government, I do not think their members ever complained once about the allocation of resources to non-executive members, to opposition members or to crossbench members.
All of a sudden, now in opposition, they appreciate the reality of being in opposition and of what it means to be a non-executive member. They may well have an argument, Mr Deputy Speaker. It is quite amusing in many ways that it only takes the experience of a year or so in opposition to make them realise how poorly done by oppositions have been in the past.
MS TUCKER(11.37): We could talk about the crossbench members, who are even more poorly done by. I will make a couple of comments on this subject, considering that members of the crossbench have to cover every issue. I do think that it is very important that we be properly resourced to do the work required of us in this place. The Liberal government took no interest in that and I do not see the Labor government necessarily giving it enough attention. I know that there is a process under way at the moment and we are very hopeful that a decision will be made which is based on the understanding of the workload of the people in this place.