Page 51 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 27 November 2012
When you consider the number of non-executive members of this place or, indeed, when you look at the overall numbers of members of each party in the Assembly, we do not think those relative ratios are respectively represented across the committees. We feel this is yet another instance whereby the government is taking undue control of too many committees and, in doing so, avoiding appropriate scrutiny which the committees apply to governance.
Before accepting the motion on the table today, the opposition would like to amend it by including a paragraph 4(c)(iii), and I move:
Insert new paragraph (4)(c)(iii):
“(iii) the Chair shall be an Opposition member;”.
Whilst it is probably clear that the opposition would control that committee, for completeness and so it is consistent with the other committees, we think it is appropriate that the standing order states that the chair shall be an opposition member.
MR SESELJA (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (11.40): I would like to make another point, and Mr Smyth will be moving a further amendment at the conclusion of the vote on this amendment.
We note that the government have chosen with the Standing Committee on Public Accounts to have two members from the government and two members from the opposition. I stand to be corrected on this, but I am told that chairs do not get a casting vote in committees. That being the case, the government have chosen with arguably the most important committee to have an interminably deadlocked committee. They have chosen to nobble the PAC. We know what the strategy is here—it is to take the most important committee in the Assembly and to say, “The opposition will not be able to request anything because they will be nobbled from doing that at every turn by the two government members on that committee.”
This was not put to us in discussions. When the deal had been stitched up between Labor and the Greens and it was put to us how the committees were going to operate, we were not told that they were going to nobble one particular committee lest that committee be able to actually get to the bottom of public administration and maladministration by the government in public accounts.
This is a very poor start for the Labor-Greens coalition if the first thing they are going to do—it certainly does not accord with the Latimer House principles the Greens are so fond of—is to turn around and nobble the PAC from doing any reasonable work. You can be sure that, when it comes to requesting information from the Treasurer or requesting documents from the government, that will be two government votes against that happening at every turn.
We certainly do not support the idea of having one committee where the government sees particular risks for itself having a deadlocked committee at every turn. It is a far worse situation than what we have seen in the past where, in fact, occasionally the