Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 27 August 2008) . . Page.. 3762 ..
by Libraries Alive!, of which members received one part, that on the Legislative Assembly early this month. I thank the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure for that. I found it very interesting.
However, there is the rest of the report, and I ask the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, who is also the minister for libraries, to advise the Assembly, when that review is completed, if its recommendations suggest significant changes to the government library service and if the minister would please table the report about Canberra’s public libraries in the Assembly by the close of business today? If not, why not?
MR HARGREAVES: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I thank Dr Foskey for the question. I will answer the last bit first. No, I am not going to table the report. Then I will tell you why.
I provided the section of the report to the Assembly committee because the admin and procedure committee had an interest in where the issue around the Assembly library was actually going, where it was headed. I indicated, and I have indicated in this place before quite a number of times, that it is timely, now that this parliament has matured a fair bit, to consider the placement of the Assembly library—whether it should be within the executive, that is, within TAMS, as part of the executive or whether it is more properly placed within the parliamentary precinct and within the responsibilities of the Speaker.
It is my personal view that it should be part of the parliamentary precinct and group of services because I do believe it should have that independence. However, we need to look at it in the context of our computer system. That, too, should be part of the Assembly set of services, but it is not viable to have it that way. That has been a matter considered by the admin and procedure committee before.
I have also said in this place quite a number of times that I would take absolutely no decisions without having a conversation with the Speaker on a minister to minister basis. We can agree, if you like, as I think we actually do, in terms of the principle, but what we need to do at that point is to consider the resources that have to follow it. We have to consider the professional support that actually is provided to the Assembly library as well.
So in answer to Dr Foskey’s question, this particular document is one which I regard, firstly, as cabinet-in-confidence. It is going to form part of the attitude that cabinet will take on the provision of library services. I do not propose that it is a stand-alone piece of work. It is not. I do not agree with some of the recommendations that the consultant has brought forward. For example, there is one recommendation that there should be some charges levied. I do not agree with that. There is one, off the top of my head.
I will not be tabling the report. I do, however, want to assure the Assembly that there will be no movement towards changing the status of the Assembly library without the concurrence of the Speaker and it will not be before proper dialogue has been completed. That dialogue will be not only between the minister and the Speaker. Quite clearly, it will be a conversation between the two respective chief executive