Page 1205 - Week 03 - Thursday, 31 March 2011

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Mr Doszpot interjecting—

MS BRESNAN: Mr Doszpot, you can hold up the standing order, but this is a committee report, and the matter should have been brought to all committee members to discuss. Again, I state that I was under the impression from the letter that came to the committee that it was going to be tabled in this sitting period. I am not going to support this motion, because it should have been brought to the committee to make sure all members had the same understanding from that letter.

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Women) (3.03): To reiterate, I do apologise. I have not got the letter in front of me, but we have scheduled the work plan around delivering that report in this sitting period. Again, without having the letter in front of me I cannot say for certain what was in the letter, but in our programming it was always to be done in the second sitting week of this block. I will not be supporting the motion.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (3.03): I congratulate Mr Doszpot for using the standing orders as they should be used. Standing order 254A is a relatively new standing order. I do not think it has been used before. It is quite simple. For those who are not aware of it, it provides that if a government response to a committee report has not been tabled within the three months of the presentation of the report, the chair of the committee may without notice take action. It does not require the chair of the committee to do anything. He is not acting on behalf of the committee; he is actually acting on behalf of the Assembly, because the report is supposed to come back to the Assembly.

Once the committee has reported, the committee has no more interest in the inquiry as a body. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the chairman of the committee to keep the government accountable, no matter the colour of the government, and that is what Mr Doszpot is doing. He has asked the minister why she has not reported in time. He has acknowledged that he has already received a letter apologising for the lateness. I understand this was due on 5 March, and I understand that he has received a letter from the minister giving an undertaking to table the response in the last sitting week of March. This is the last sitting day of March, and we do not seem to be seeing it.

The minister has come back and said, “Well, actually, I think I might do it next week,” without explanation. Therefore, Mr Doszpot is quite entitled, without notice and without leave, to move a motion. Mr Doszpot has used the standing orders appropriately. It is his responsibility to do so and no-one else’s. He is the chairman of the committee, and I congratulate him for his diligence and for his use of the standing orders as they are provided for us.

MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (3.05): I continue to be disappointed with the answers we are getting from Ms Burch. This is not just an issue where an apology is owed to us, to the committee or to the Assembly; this is an apology that is required to the community, who have been waiting since December on an answer to very, very

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