Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 6 March 2008) . . Page.. 593 ..
possible that from time to time, if there was a completely ruthless majority government, they might try to completely subvert the scrutiny of budgets by not having any estimates committee at all.
The third part of these amendments is to entrench the policy, which members on this side and some members of the crossbench have previously endorsed, that the chairmanship of particular committees should be in the purview of the opposition.
Mr Mulcahy: Your colleagues wouldn’t back you on that, Mrs Dunne. They went to water.
MRS DUNNE: This again reflects the standing orders of the Canadian parliament. Standing order 106, about the election of chairmen, specifies that particular committees must be chaired by a member of the opposition—and it is the recognised opposition, not a member of a minor opposition party. When we discussed this in Canada, Mr Mulcahy was wholly in agreement with this as a principle, but I see that his principles have been modified somewhat today and he has become somewhat more independent. It is, again, the evolution of one’s thinking, depending upon one’s circumstances.
These amendments are purely accountability measures. They are important accountability measures. We have seen the Stanhope government ride roughshod over these measures in the past and we must support them.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Planning) (11.34): Mr Deputy Speaker, I want to put on the record very clearly and up front right now that the government supports the provision and the Assembly’s enacting resolutions to establish a scrutiny of bills and subordinate legislation committee, public accounts committees, committees that deal with planning and, of course, select committees that inquire into budgets.
This government have had a majority in this place for four years and on each and every occasion we have always supported the establishment of a select committee into estimates; we have always supported a committee of scrutiny of bills and subordinate legislation; we have always supported a committee on public accounts; we have always supported a committee that enquires into planning matters here in the territory. Any suggestion that the government has some agenda not to do so is simply not supported by the facts and our practice in this place in the past.
The government has every right to be frustrated that, after 3½ years of inquiries, at one minute to midnight we have not one but two amendments from the Liberal Party from two separate Liberal members, both of whom have been members of this committee during the course of this inquiry. The real issue here is that the Liberal Party just cannot get its act together.
Mrs Burke: On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker, this is tedious repetition under standing order 62. Mr Corbell has already said this. How many times are you going to say that?
MR CORBELL: As long as it makes you uncomfortable.