Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 7 December 2004) . . Page.. 49 ..
what was supposedly a travesty and just to support Mr Corbell. In so doing I would like to quote Dr Foskey, who observed earlier today that, had we been elected under a system that prevails in most states and territories, there would have been 17 ALP members in this place.
Dr Foskey: Mr Hull’s observation, not mine.
MR QUINLAN: Well, you chose to introduce it. Can I just put myself on the record as being not a total fan of the Hare-Clark system? In discussing Canberra’s political system, I have said a number of times, and I will repeat it today, that I believe that Canberra has no lower house—only an upper house. A lot of our members used to operate as if they were in an upper house. We do actually need to have a government with a mandate, and we now have one.
In the past, committees have been constructive—but not always. In fact, I would say that in the majority of cases, the committees have tended to be hostile. Let’s be practical. In the last Assembly you could observe that the Democrat who was a member of this house generally set herself up in opposition to the government, So, virtually, committees were hostile, and then unfortunately became more political, even to the point of abuse of position when we had a chair of one committee having to stand down for breach of privilege. I think that was a commentary on some of the activity within the committee system.
So Mr Speaker, we will not be supporting the tailoring of individual committees to suit members and their personal agendas. Therefore, I can give notice that we will not be supporting Mr Mulcahy’s motion, when that is moved.
MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (12.14): Mr Speaker, the opposition will be supporting Dr Foskey’s amendment to Ms MacDonald’s motion and my colleague Mr Mulcahy will be moving a very sensible, almost procedural, motion, which adds to the government’s motion and is not in any way dependent on Dr Foskey’s motion.
In relation to committees, I have been around this place a long time, as you have, Mr Speaker. With interest I heard Mr Corbell say that what the government has proposed is very reasonable, and he prattled on about what occurs in other states and in the federal parliament. We have developed a fair bit of history here ourselves. The committee system has served us well, and I think it is something we will discard at our peril. Whilst the government’s motion is very clever—because it probably does ensure that nearly all the time they will end up with a majority report favourable to them—it is not terribly reasonable. In the past, the committee system of this Assembly has been very strong and, yes, this is the first time we have had a majority government, but that is no reason to weaken the committee system.
Mr Quinlan, contrary to what you have said, I think you will find that in the case of a lot of committees in the last Assembly there are quite a few unanimous reports. I can think of a few from my own committee, particularly the fireworks report. Mr Hargreaves will remember that well. Each member took certain ideas to that committee, and as a result of the hearings things changed. A lot of evidence was taken. We came down with a unanimous report, and that is something that has been a history in this place. A lot of good work has been done in all committees over the years. There have been quite