The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS(16:11:29): I rise to support the motion, and I thank the Hon. Mr Kandelaars for his extensive summary of the work of the committee in relation to this matter. I should say that the report actually provides what I think is an excellent history of the bill and the related matters. Some of it could be seen by people outside this system as being quite bizarre. There was a situation where some parts of the government thought it was very clever to move that the private members bill in the lower house be referred to the Occupational Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Committee to—and these are my words—get rid of it for a while, and to stall.
We have seen those sorts of activities on behalf of the government in the lower house in the past. Then, of course, within days, some other arm of the government that obviously had not been talking to the one that referred it to the committee decided to come up with legislation which superseded the referral. So, I do recommend that people have a look at the report, as it actually summarises that rather bizarre set of events.
I suppose, as we move around this building, we sometimes pick up some information that is not always available to everybody. I became aware that some elements in cabinet wished that the committee might just ignore the referral and not bring up a report. I have got to say, I am very pleased that the committee unanimously determined to fulfil its responsibility to bring a report to the parliament. I personally thought it was offensive that elements in the executive of this government, having initially deemed it appropriate to flick this off to a committee to take it away and look at to get rid of the issue, then suddenly decided to fix the issue and then told committee members, 'Oh, well, just forget we ever sent that to you.'
Well, that is not the way a good parliament works, it is not the way the Westminster system should work. I am one who very much supports the committee system, and I have to say that I am proud of the fact that the committee determined that it was absolutely inappropriate for us to go away and forget that we ever got the referral. I am pleased about that.
In conclusion, I should indicate that I would particularly note the detail in the Presiding Member's remarks in the report, and I also commend the conclusion of the report for those who are interested in the detail of this matter, and many in the community are obviously very interested in the welfare of the voluntary firefighting workforce.
Like the Hon. Mr Kandelaars, I also thank the Presiding Member, the Hon. Steph Key, for the manner in which she chairs that committee. I thank all other members of the committee, particularly the hardworking sole staff member of the committee, Ms Sue Sedivy. I commend the report to the council.