WA Legislative Assembly Committee System – using the hung parliament for permanent reform
While most parliamentary committee work is done in a bi-partisan manner, committees chaired by a government member are less likely to hold the government to account. Even when we were in government I always considered the parliamentary committee system would work better if some committees where not dominated by government members.
After the September 2008 WA state election I realised that the situation of having independent members with the balance of power, supporting a minority government, offered an opportunity to reform the Legislative Assembly committee system. I approached independent members of parliament, John Bowler MLA and Janet Woollard MLA, who agreed to support permanent reform which saw non-government members controlling at least two of the four standing committees of the Legislative Assembly (Public Accounts, Education and Health, Economics and Industry and Community Justice).
While the deal was finalised by party leaders, it was my original approach that instigated the reforms. This was recognised both by John Bowler MLA1 in the parliament and journalist Paul Murray in the West Australian.2
Martin delivers his Valedictorary speech in WA Parliament.
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Martin Whitely announces his pre-selection bid for the Senate.
To see more on Martin's work in the area of Mental Health and ADHD, see his blog