Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 10 April 2008) . . Page.. 1323 ..
MR CORBELL: I move:
(1) in paragraph (2)(a), omit ‘two’, substitute ‘three’;
(2) omit paragraph (2)(c); and
(3) in paragraph (2), omit ‘4 p.m.’, substitute ‘the adjournment of the Assembly.’.”.
As I indicated to members in the debate earlier, these amendments simply provide that there will be three government members and two opposition members of the committee. Secondly, they omit the references to crossbench members, due to their indication that they do not wish to participate as members of the committee in the estimates process. Thirdly, they require government and opposition to notify you, Mr Speaker, of their proposed members by the adjournment of the Assembly today, given that the original time of 4.00 pm has elapsed. I commend the amendments to members.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (4.22): I want to speak briefly on this because I have not yet voiced my opposition to the style of representation that we are seeing in these amendments to the motion. I just want to indicate that I also do believe that we need to have an estimates committee that is much more robust. I suppose, in a sense, I would have to say that the non-participation of at least myself is to some extent due to the fact that the report, as it would be written, would be one that favours the government and one would find oneself writing a dissenting report or making additional remarks once again. I think that, no matter whatever one thinks, it has been a good principle and is a good principle for the committee of scrutiny to be headed by someone who is not in the government.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.24): It is interesting to reflect on the Stanhope government’s code of good governance published on 14 March 2001.
Mrs Dunne: That was a long time ago, Mr Smyth.
MR SMYTH: It is a long time ago, Mrs Dunne. But one of the promises is that the Stanhope government will ensure that the Legislative Assembly is able to provide the appropriate scrutiny of the government of the day. What Mr Corbell’s amendments do is provide for government control of that scrutiny. Let us face it; that is what this is about.
It is certainly not appropriate for the government to control the scrutiny of its own budget. I do not think anyone would see that as being equivalent to one of Labor’s core values which also appear in their code of good governance, which refers to fairness, openness and responsibility. In terms of fairness, fail; in terms of openness, fail; in terms of responsibility, fail.
What it does mean now is that the estimates committee will simply be a rubber stamp of the government. And that is the dilemma that we face today. It seems a dilemma