Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 November 2005) . . Page.. 4449 ..
everything to uphold and reflect government policy. Mr Speaker, through you, that is not the role of the member of a committee of this place.
In the previous Assembly, there were members of committees who had the courage to go against their party’s policy when they realised, looking at the evidence before them, that their party’s policy was not right. This is not something that this member is prepared to do. This member is not prepared and does not have the courage to allow his government to be scrutinised.
Mr Seselja referred to the government’s policy on openness, accountability and good governance. This government says it has the courage to allow itself to be scrutinised but it uses its members on committees to do everything to circumvent scrutiny. I draw to your attention an example of this, Mr Speaker. This is a photocopy of an email which one of the opposition staff found lying around in a photocopying room. It goes to the very heart of the way this member carries out his duties as a member of a committee—not the planning and environment committee on this occasion, but another committee. His staffer writes to a ministerial staffer about annual reports:
I am assuming that most questions from Ms Dunne will surround the Ginninderra High closure amongst other things. I wanted to run past you—I was thinking that the best way to get this discussion away from the Dunne rant was to ask questions about Amaroo and its success in terms of enrolment and academic outcomes—but if the answers aren’t that favourable it probably isn’t a good idea.
What do you think? Should Mick go on about Amaroo and try to draw parallels with the intended outcomes of the proposed school or is there another preferred option (aside from asking Ms Dunne not to attend) with handling the inevitable line of questioning from Ms Dunne?
This is a shameful act by a member of the education committee to even contemplate finding a way for another member of that committee not to attend a public hearing in relation to annual reports. This is a member who does not understand the difference between his role as a member of the Labor Party backbench and a member of a committee. Being a member of a committee means that you have to have courage, you have to stand up, you have to say things which—
Mr Corbell: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: this motion is to take note of the standing committee’s report in relation to draft variation 231 of the territory plan. Mrs Dunne has been going on to some extent, personally attacking Mr Gentleman, but she is not referring in any way to the report that the Assembly is taking note of in this motion. My point of order is relevance. Mrs Dunne should confine her comments to the motion before the chair.
Mr Mulcahy: On the point of order, Mr Speaker: it is most pertinent, when we receive a report from a committee chair, to address the matter of the chairman’s conduct and regard for the appropriate processes. We have had cited here the fact that the work of the committee was completely pre-empted by announcing on the daily program the decision of the committee before the meeting had been held.