Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 10 April 2008) . . Page.. 1288 ..
(4) if the Assembly is not sitting when the Committee has completed its inquiry the Committee may send its report to the Speaker or, in the absence of the Speaker, to the Deputy Speaker, who is authorised to give directions for its printing, publishing and circulation; and
(5) the foregoing provisions of this resolution, so far as they are inconsistent with the standing orders, have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the standing orders.
My motion establishes a Select Committee on Estimates 2008-09 to examine the expenditure proposals contained in the Appropriation Bill 2008-2009 and any revenue estimates proposed by the government in the 2008-09 budget. The committee, under my proposal, will be composed of two members nominated by the government, two nominated by the opposition, and one nominated by the crossbench. The committee will report by 17 June 2008, and all the other usual bits and pieces.
The estimates process is a crucially important one. We look forward to the opportunity to scrutinise the government’s spending proposals and its budget for the coming financial year. We believe that the best way of providing genuine scrutiny is to have this mix of two members from the government, two members from the opposition and one from the crossbench. This is the way it has often worked in the past, although not always under this government. We look forward to the government’s support. I note that an amendment has been circulated, and I look forward to the opportunity to speak to that. I would say that this is the best way of doing it; this is the best way of getting genuine debate and scrutiny within the estimates committee.
The government have not had a good record on withstanding scrutiny. We have seen their attitude to all sorts of things, most notably the Costello report, which they still refuse to release. This is the right way to go, and we would hope that all members would support this motion.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (12.17): I move:
(1) in paragraph (2)(a), omit ‘two’, substitute ‘three’; and
(2) insert new paragraph (3A):
‘(3A) the Committee Chair shall be held by a Government member;’.
Mr Speaker, I commend the amendments to members. We have had this debate about the composition of the estimates committee on numerous occasions. Consistent with the approach adopted in the federal parliament and indeed in most other state parliaments around the country, it is the government’s view that a government member should chair this committee, and we are proposing an amendment consistent with that.
The government would, of course, reject the assertions made by Mr Seselja that the government is not willing to have these matters properly scrutinised. Government