Page 5588 - Week 13 - Thursday, 17 November 2011

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national and international, which have established a model for collaborative committees. The paper suggested there were features from collaborative models in other jurisdictions that could have a role for committees and legislation development in the ACT.

A number of parliaments in other countries involve committees in the review and development of legislation, including New Zealand, the United States Congress and Scotland. The Scottish parliament in particular provides a useful model for us to consider and there is evidence that the legislative process in Scotland involves a high degree of consensus and agreement of all parties.

A proposal was put to the committee chairs meeting that ministers would identify proposed laws that would go to an Assembly committee for consideration, working collaboratively with the executive. In the first instance, the executive would identify proposed laws that could be referred to committees, when the Chief Minister tables the autumn and spring legislation programs.

When a law was identified and nominated, the responsible minister would move a motion in the Assembly referring the bill to the relevant standing committee and appoint the relevant minister for the inquiry’s duration. Secondly, it would provide for relevant departmental officers to assist the committee and, thirdly, arrange for drafting assistance from the Parliamentary Counsel’s Office. The committee would then progress the inquiry. Once completed, it would draft a report on the inquiry and views proposed on the bill, along with a draft bill and explanatory statement. The committee would report to the Assembly with a copy of the bill. The process could also apply to private members’ bills. The committee chairs meeting supported trialling the process and the suggestion was that the exposure draft Election Commitments Costing Bill 2011 be nominated and referred to the relevant committee.

This particular bill does represent a good opportunity to trial the process, as we obviously will all be particularly affected by the bill and its impact is, in one sense, restricted to the political parties involved in the process. This is a good chance to see how this process works and I hope it takes some of the adversarial politics out of an area where it otherwise might be particularly acute.

Following some discussion and reflection, the Greens’ view is that a select committee is the best model for this. The proposed time frame for the committee report is March next year, which gives the committee a reasonable time frame in which to do the work and would then allow the Assembly to debate the bill in sufficient time before the election period. The Greens very much look forward to working with both parties on the development of the bill and hopefully on others in the future if this process proves to be successful.

I will quickly go to Mr Smyth’s proposed amendment and speak to it now. As I already mentioned in my speech, this process was outlined in a letter from the Speaker. The Secretariat provided information on other jurisdictions where ministers sit on collaborative committees and where these sorts of models work well. A proposal was put to committee chairs, who supported trialling the process, and the suggestion was that the draft Election Commitments Costing Bill 2011 be nominated as the appropriate bill. That is why this process has been put forward.

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