Page 3639 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 22 October 2013

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DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (5.17): I rise to offer a different viewpoint to the muddying of the waters around this matter that Mr Coe seems to want to continue. It seems to me that he is pulling rabbits out of the hat. The fact is that dissenting reports to this special report were discussed at the committee meeting and, as I recollect, it was agreed. It was agreed that we could have dissenting reports to this special report.

But Mr Coe decides after the fact that he wants to have a go at that particular issue. Then he says that he thinks it was obvious that particular procedural matters should have happened in the committee. It was so obvious that he was not actually able to point in that particular committee meeting to House of Representatives Practice to draw to our attention the necessity for a motion to accept the report, which is not mentioned in our standing orders. In fact, when it actually came into the chamber, the Speaker had to seek advice as to how the matter should be dealt with. So it is not exactly common knowledge that this is how things should happen.

But we have learned that and we have found out that there is a House of Representatives practice which Mr Coe is now familiar with as well. But you cannot go back and rewrite what has happened in the past. That is what he wants to do, just to cast a particular angle so that he can cast some aspersions on the excellent chairing of Mr Gentleman. So I say to him: next time members of the opposition have a problem in a committee, why do they just not try to sort it out in there?

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (5.19), in reply: I thank everybody for their comments on this report. I would make clear in closing that, of course, the minutes do reflect the committee’s deliberations, including the fact that the committee had agreed to proceed in deliberation on the chair’s draft report according to the standing orders, as Dr Bourke has advised us here this afternoon.

I would also advise that, of course, no other report was presented at the time of deliberation. There is always an opportunity for members to present another report that can be debated. No other report was presented. The committee followed the Assembly’s request to clarify adoption of the report. As I have said, the committee could not agree.

At this point there were no further processes available in the standing orders to proceed when a vote is tied on a report. So the committee looked at House of Representatives Practice. As I mentioned in my opening speech, House of Representatives Practice advises that if a committee cannot reach an agreement, it should proceed with a special report and present a summary of its proceedings.

At no other time has the committee operated outside the standing orders and, of course, it is always open for committee members when presenting reports to dissent from those reports as well. I thank members for their time.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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