Page 53 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 7 December 2004

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Omit paragraph (4) and substitute:

“(4) Each committee shall consist of three members, except for the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment, the Standing Committee on Education Training and Young People and the Standing Committee on Health and Disability, which may have four members.”.

The reason I am moving this amendment to expand the size of these committees is the government’s expressed intention to have two members on each of these three policy-based committees just established. I know that the community, in electing a Green to the Assembly, expected that we would be given the opportunity to contribute to the detailed development of recommendations by committees, in the same way as the Greens have in the past. In particular, the community would expect me to make my services available to those committees where I can contribute the most.

As the government has conceived the committees to this point, they have neglected to leave room for both Green and Liberal points of view on the three policy-based committees. Clearly, with only one Green representative in the Assembly we cannot join all the committees, but we can lend our knowledge and expertise to three. The three committees to which I believe I can contribute most are the planning and environment committee, the education, training and young people committee and the Committee on Health and Disability.

You will know that I have been involved in education for much of my life—as a student, as a teacher and as the executive officer of the country education project, which worked in both the community and the schools in East Gippsland. You will also know that I have had a long involvement in the environment and that two of my theses involved deep research—one into environment, planning and community consultation in Canberra and the other one into more global issues, but related to such things that the Canberra community is vitally concerned about, such as the impact of population and our ecological footprint.

I feel that I should have the opportunity to contribute this expertise, as I have been elected to this Assembly by many people on the basis of it, no doubt. I urge the government to support this amendment to allow a Greens perspective to be added to those committees where I believe I can contribute the most.

MR SPEAKER: Just in case there is a misunderstanding about the circulation of material and amendments, it is open to you, Dr Foskey, to circulate matters at any time. I would not want you to think there is any restriction on your doing that.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (12.33): The government will not be supporting this amendment. The argument is basically one of proportionality. Dr Foskey as a Greens member is one-seventeenth of this Assembly, but she wishes the Greens to be represented on three of the five committees. In fact, she wants to represent the Greens on all five of the committees that exist in this place.

I do not know how that stacks up in proportionality terms, but Dr Foskey is one member. We have sought to accommodate Dr Foskey as a crossbench member in the make-up of committees, which is the motion Ms MacDonald has put forward, but we think it is very

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