Page 1318 - Week 04 - Thursday, 10 April 2008

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DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (3.58): Mr Speaker, I wish to speak to the motion to establish an estimates committee and to the amendments to that motion. People will be aware that for the last three years, as the sole crossbench member, I have been a participant in the estimates committee and that I have very happily risen to the work, even though, for a one-member party, it has been quite taxing to cover estimates and all the other work.

So I must say that I welcomed the thought that this year I would be sharing that responsibility, given that there are now two crossbench members, and until I spoke to Mr Mulcahy about this a couple of months ago I had assumed that he would be very happy to take up the offer of being a crossbench representative on this committee.

Now, it should be understood that just because we are both on the crossbench, there is not a crossbench party or anything like that. We are two different people, and we have two different sets of allegiances. So while we would be able to cooperate together to a very large extent in the establishment of private members’ business and so on, one would not represent the other if we took up crossbench positions on the estimates committee.

This morning I checked with Mr Mulcahy again as to whether he would take up that position on the estimates committee, and he reiterated his answer that he would prefer not to. I then reconsidered whether I would take up that position, given that there is that position on the committee and it would seem to be required to be filled. But, on deep and considered thought, I have decided not to take up that position on the estimates committee this year.

Mrs Dunne: That is very selfless of you, Deb.

DR FOSKEY: Ha! It is, of course, something I have done for three years in a row and while I will be very, very keen to participate in many of the estimates hearings and will have questions, this year I will not be taking up the kind offer to be on the estimates committee.

I had thought that, given that Mr Mulcahy did such a very thorough job when he was on the estimates committee in 2005, he would be keen to take up that role again, and given his very well acknowledged economic expertise—by the Labor members of this place, anyway; I am not so sure if the Liberal members are quite as supportive of it as they used to be—I am somewhat disappointed that he does not plan to add that to the estimates committee. But that is his call, just as it is my call not to take it up as well. I just let the house know that in case it is necessary to revise the structure of the committee.

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (4.03): The opposition will not be supporting Mr Corbell’s amendments; I will be moving an amendment to Mr Corbell’s proposed amendments. I refer members to the amendment circulated in my name, and now move:

In proposed amendment (2), omit “Government”, substitute “non-government”.

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