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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2647 ..



The second thing is that Mr Wood mentioned in his earlier comments that he went to the clerk to seek guidance before coming to the Estimates Committee to give evidence. I am just wondering, firstly, what the intentions of Mr Wood were in doing that and, if he did get guidance, whether it was in writing or verbal. If it was in writing, could he table that evidence or that guidance or advice in the Assembly?


(9.32): I will only speak briefly, but I think that it is important to add my voice to this debate. I have been listening to what everybody has had to say and I know that people still have things to say. Some important questions have been raised about the role of this Assembly, the role of our committees, how they operate and what it is we are trying to achieve.

Basically, there are four different referrals to a privileges committee before us and I am going to do them in the reverse order. On the dissemination of information relating to reports that have yet to be published of the Public Accounts Committee and the Estimates Committee, I think that it is an important issue in relation to committees and how they conduct their business and one worthy of examination.

On the creation and distribution of a document known as "Budget Estimates 2003"by certain persons within ACT Health, I think that some important questions have been raised about the relationship between this Assembly and the executive and departments and on the role of the Estimates Committee, how it operates and its purpose, and how that is being treated by the executive and members of the departments, and hence, again, it is something that I believe is worthy of examination.

With relation to the refusal of Mr Corbell to answer questions, even though he has apologised for that, I do think that a privileges committee needs to examine the standing orders and practice around that-I think that this also covers the refusal of Mr Wood to answer questions of the Select Committee of Estimates-and, again, investigate the relationship of the Assembly to their committees, the relationship of the committees to the executive, how they operate and what they are trying to achieve. How the executive relates to those committees and to this Assembly is something that I believe is worthy of examination.

I have been quite careful in my considerations of this matter because I think that if a select committee is formed I will be serving on it and I do not want to prejudge any outcome; but, that being said, I do think that it is important that these matters are examined as part of the way that this Assembly operates.


(9.34): Mrs Dunne, towards the end of her speech, started looking at what a select committee is all about, and I think that she made some very good points. I will take the paragraphs of the amendment seriatim, too, because one needs to consider them. We need to look at what the Estimates Committee found, in terms of the facts before it, in making the recommendations that it did. I note that there were no dissenting reports in relation to that.

We also need to look, as Mrs Dunne has suggested quite properly, at exactly what we are doing. Tonight, we are not deciding whether the persons around the document knows as "Budget Estimates 2003"or the two ministers concerned are in contempt of the

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