Page 54 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 7 December 2004

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difficult to justify that a party with only one member in this place should be represented on each and every standing committee. We do not believe that it is consistent in any way with the spirit of the approach that has been adopted in every Assembly, including this one, where some level of proportionality has been attempted. The government simply cannot support the proposition.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (12.35): Mr Speaker, the Liberal opposition will support Dr Foskey’s motion because, although Dr Foskey, Mr Corbell, Ms McDonald and I participated in some discussion and it was raised at the time that, yes, there was some accommodation for allowing the Greens to be on some committees, there were particular areas where Dr Foskey, as the Greens representative, having expressed a desire to participate, because of the structure—“We have got to have a majority and the chairmanship of committees so that we can control the agenda,”—was unable to participate in committees like the planning and environment committee.

Although the suggestion was made to extend the membership of some of the committees, principally the planning and environment committee, the government went away and, we presume, talked about it at caucus, came back and said “No, we are not going to do it.” I think that, without the perspective of the whole community in committees, particularly the planning and environment committee, the community will not be well served. For that I think reason the Liberal Party should support this amendment.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, members. There has been a bit of an oversight. I usually draw attention to the time at 12.30 in respect of the luncheon break, and I will continue with that practice. But the government has already indicated that it wishes to continue with this motion. The question is that the amendment be agreed to.

Amendment negatived.

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (12.37): A couple of comments have been made in the course of the debate, specifically in relation to my comment that in the last Assembly, when we had six standing committees plus the administration and procedure committee—so seven standing committees all up—we could not actually get through everything. That is certainly true and, while this could be considered to be a flaw in my argument, I would point out that either the First or the Second Assembly—you would know, Mr Speaker, much better than I because you were here—had seven standing committees plus the admin and procedures committee. I would also point out that much larger parliaments have far greater numbers of committees. I would bet my bottom dollar that they also do not get through every item of business that they would like to because of time constraints and other matters pressing upon members.

I think it is interesting as well that Dr Foskey made the point that she wanted to go onto three of the committees, but she did not actually attempt to take herself off the other two committees. Apart from anything, the workload that that would have created for her would have been quite monumental. Something that she will come to find in this place is that being on committees does require a large amount of time.

The intention is that I will be on three standing committees, plus admin and procedure. In the last Assembly I was on three standing committees and not admin and procedure, and that took up a lot of time. Dr Foskey has put forward that she wants to go on five

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