Page 4168 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 26 November 2013

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Leave granted.

MR DOSZPOT: Scrutiny report 13 contains the committee’s comments on seven bills, 38 pieces of subordinate legislation, three government responses and proposed government amendments to the Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2013. The report was circulated to members when the Assembly was not sitting. I commend the report to the Assembly.

Australian Capital Territory (Ministers) Bill 2013 (No 2)

Debate resumed from 31 October 2013, on motion by Ms Gallagher:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10.21): Madam Speaker, I can inform the Assembly that the opposition will be supporting this legislation. This bill will enable the Chief Minister to appoint up to nine ministers. It reflects the legislation that I tabled and that was then adjourned by the government earlier this year. That sought to essentially have the same effect, which was to increase the size of the ministry. When I tabled that legislation, I indicated that, should the Chief Minister wish to amend it to increase the number of ministers, we would be supportive of that. So in essence we have seen two pieces of legislation seeking to have the same effect. It is clear that there is a bipartisan approach to the effect that we are trying to create here, regardless of the nuances as to which piece of legislation has particular merit.

There is no question that there is now a weight of evidence that there needs to be an increase in the size of the ministry. I would accept that the Chief Minister, having been Chief Minister for a while and Deputy Chief Minister before that, would have a particular view of this. But independent analysis has been conducted. The review into the size of the Assembly, when this was looked at as part of that review, made it clear that there is a view that the ministry does need to be larger. I can quote from the executive summary of that review:

A convincing case was made in the submissions and other discussions that the current 5 member ministry in the ACT is too few.

Allan Hawke, who has done some quite substantive work on reviewing not just the role of the executive but the whole of the ACT government and its functions, is quoted as saying:

A key challenge facing the ACT, which is ultimately hindering performance and capacity—

I would agree with him on that—

is the breadth and volume of the ministerial responsibilities in a Cabinet of five spanning the uniquely broad range of functions with which the Government is charged.

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