Page 4399 - Week 14 - Thursday, 28 November 2013
committees is appropriately shared on an equal basis between Labor and Liberal, reflecting the fact that both Labor and Liberal have eight members on the floor of the Assembly as a whole.
Dr Bourke’s proposal is, I think, a sensible way of avoiding some of the dilemmas that arise because of these unusual—indeed, completely without precedent—circumstances in this Assembly. Anyone who asserts that the government is breaking the long-held convention needs to understand that the voters themselves have done that. The voters have chosen an Assembly with equal membership between the government and opposition. The voters have only chosen one member to sit on the crossbench and that member has chosen to be a member of the executive.
These are exceptional and unusual circumstances. Our standing orders need to adapt as a result. Dr Bourke’s proposal, I think, is a considered and effective way to manage those issues. The government as a whole will certainly be supporting Dr Bourke’s proposal.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (11.31): In rising to speak to this motion, I say that I support Dr Bourke’s considered motion. As the attorney has said, he has thought about this for quite a while. He has interacted with other members on committees in regard to the preparation of this motion. It has been on the notice paper for quite some time. I believe it provides a way forward for us on these committees based on their structure at the moment.
In regard to Mr Smyth’s motion, I see some merit within the confines of the motion, but I have some concerns, especially over proposed standing order 250B, which is the move away from House of Representatives Practice. House of Representatives Practice says that if you cannot reach agreement on a report then the committee must report to the parliament that it cannot reach agreement, but it is a report. Then underneath you have transcripts of evidence, et cetera. With Mr Smyth’s amendment, it would mean that there is no report at all but a statement to the effect that the committee cannot agree. This means that the committee or members of the committee cannot attach any other report to that statement. I think that needs some further work. I therefore propose to move that the debate be adjourned.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (11.33), by leave: The rules seem to have changed. One side was not informed of the decision. The administration and procedure committee looked at this and on advice from the Clerk this was the agreed position. I am not sure if Mr Gentleman told his party room that this was what admin and procedures agreed should happen.
This is kind of a first, members. This is the first time notices on the notice paper have ever been debated cognately in the Assembly. The normal practice has been to send amendments to standing orders to admin and procedure. When we discussed this at admin and procedure on Tuesday it was agreed—I thought Mr Gentleman agreed to this and I think others thought Mr Gentleman had agreed—that this is a way forward. That is why notice No 3 was drafted so that both of these proposals could go to admin and procedure to work their way forward.