Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 June 2005) . . Page.. 2045 ..
That was prepared well over a week ago but there had been some signs, prior to that being written, that some members of the committee—notably the opposition members—were not happy with the way the process was run. As such I had anticipated, from before we started deliberating on the report, that some form of dissenting report would be presented by members of the opposition and possibly by Dr Foskey. I am happy to inform you that I was not disappointed. At 7.30 this morning—I will reiterate that: 7.30 this morning—the opposition members of the committee, Mr Mulcahy and Mr Seselja, provided to the committee secretariat for distribution electronically to the rest of the members of the committee their 82-page dissenting report.
When we finished last night at the not unreasonable hour of a quarter to nine, the opposition members on the committee—Mr Mulcahy and Mr Seselja—said they needed to go away and consider whether or not they were going to do a dissenting report. I am curious to know how they managed to write 82 pages in the time, probably less than an hour, that they were in the place after we finished. I have no problems at all with them doing a dissenting report. In fact, as I have said to them all along, I have done dissenting reports myself. It is always the case in an estimates committee that not everybody is going to be happy with everything that comes out of the report. It is open for people to put up their ideas, have the adult conversation and put it up on its merits. If it gets up, it gets up and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
That has not been the tactic of Mr Mulcahy and Mr Seselja. Throughout this process, Mr Mulcahy and Mr Seselja have continually tried to ambush the committee. That has been well and truly highlighted—just like that flourish underneath the signature—by: “At 7.30 in the morning we are going to give you an 82-page dissenting report. See if you can read it in the three hours between our putting it in electronically and your coming into the chamber at 10.30.”
I have not had a chance to read the entire thing. I have read the final chapter and I have read the first two paragraphs. In the final chapter many comments are made. I was not distressed by those comments; I found them amusing. I went away from this place last night thinking, “Well, you know, last week we had a couple of deliberative meetings which were fairly painful.” I have to tell members of the assembly who were not on the committee that we sat there arguing over every paragraph and that Mr Mulcahy gave a dissertation on every paragraph.
Mr Smyth: Are you breaching standing order 241 on internal deliberations?
MR SPEAKER: Order!
Mr Smyth: She cannot reveal the internal workings of the committee.
MR SPEAKER: If you want to raise a point of order, Mr Smyth, there is a way to do it.
Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, I wish to raise a point of order. Is the member revealing the internal workings of the committee and therefore breaching a standing order?
MR SPEAKER: The report has been tabled and we have tabled minutes; so I do not think you have a point of order.