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Tuesday, 25 November 2008
Page: 11219

Mr STEPHEN SMITH (3:27 PM) —Mr Speaker, could I just ask you a further question on that matter, as I was one of the members who was speaking in the Main Committee. Even though it is known that my view of the Main Committee is that it should not exist, the House established it and what occurs in the Main Committee is of course part of the proceedings of the House. It is not sufficient, in my view, for the response to be that the whips potentially make available extra speaking slots for those members whose contributions to the House have been lost. It seems to me that further effort should be made to restore those contributions. They form part of the record and the proceedings of the House. I think more is required than to simply say that (a) there is no backup system and (b) the whips should make efforts. The House should give those members who made contributions the opportunity to present those contributions to the Main Committee or the House in written form to enable some record to be resuscitated.

The SPEAKER —First of all, for clarification, I was not suggesting that the whips solve the problems of the four members whose contributions were not recorded. I am happy to take on board those comments that relate to restoring the record of those four contributions. I am happy to investigate that with both DPS and the House of Representatives to see what can be achieved.

I am not necessarily having a go at the member for Perth, but I asked a number of questions about whether it was really the member for Perth who was in the Main Committee. I am pleased that he is getting around to understanding the benefit and has now so successfully fought for the contributions made there.

I should explain that there was a misunderstanding when the problem arose. It was not fully understood that it was actually a matter of not just the broadcast not going out but also the recording not being made. Everybody involved indicates that they understand that this is a problem for the four constituency statements. There are established precedents that I am happy to refer to in this case. I am not usually happy to have matters tabled or given in electronic form, but if it would satisfy the four members concerned and the House I will explore that and get back to the House.