Tuesday 24 June 2008

Estimates Committee B (Bartlett)

1.1 Production and printing of parliamentary services

Hansard and new technology

Mr FINCH - In respect of Hansard, really, I hear nothing but praise for the work of Hansard. I sometimes marvel, having dealt with technology myself through my radio career and having seen the technical glitches that can happen, but I have never not seen a Hansard printed. So it seems that the work goes on. There must be backup somewhere and it is covered through the system. So I praise the work of the people who work surreptitiously, burrowing away in the corners, producing that reference that we need. I use it extensively through my electorate to distribute the debate and the discussion that goes on in Parliament. But one thing - and this might only be me - is that there is always a requirement to provide the quotes that we make. There are always newspapers to refer to and articles. Is it the most efficient way for us to provide them? Is Hansard able to source them themselves? Let us say we are quoting from the Financial Review or the Australian newspaper. Is there an easier way for Hansard to access it?

Mr BENNISON - I think there is liaison involved there with the Parliamentary Library and they provide a clipping service. So it would be a matter of liaison between those two organisations. But I can say that the Hansard service is a very cost-effective one by comparison with other jurisdictions around this country. They are doing a very effective job with the budget they have.

Mr FINCH - Yes, it is probably just me. I have to chase up all of these various things and if I am not coordinating them very well I think, 'Hansard might be able to take that on.' Then I realise I will probably -

Mr BARTLETT - As a former two-year member of the Library Committee of Parliament that never met while I was a member of it -

Mr FINCH - As soon as you finished up we met straightaway!

Mr BARTLETT - They got back together, right. What a shame. The Library Service of Parliament as well, as you say - and this is an opportunity to get this in Hansard - is just outstanding. We are very well served. In fact, I have said it publicly in speeches before. People talk about the privileges of being a Member of Parliament. They think that it is to do with the drinks cabinet, cheap meals or something. Actually, I think the privilege is being able to access the Parliamentary Library Service. It is incredible.

Mr FINCH - Yes. The other thing, too, is that I am just concerned with technology and the way that they do operate their services. Are we up to speed with the best available technology? Is it reviewed and who does that review?

Mr BENNISON - Yes, we recently put in a new digital service. It is about two years old now, I think; is that right?

Mr MENADUE - Yes, we just got funding for it.

Mr BENNISON - No, this is the existing system.


Mr BENNISON - The present system is about two years old, but with the introduction of the televising of parliament that is going to be running another audio feed. So we are going to have the luxury of a backup system now from Hansard and for all the committees as well as the two Chambers. So it is going to be right up to the minute.

Mr FINCH - A video web feed as well?

Mr BENNISON - That is right.

Mr FINCH - That will not make a change to Hansard's operations?

Mr BENNISON - No, it will still be done the same way in Hansard, but it is just that we have got this extra system coming through the $1.9 million that the Government has made available to Parliament for televising both Houses and committees.

Mr FINCH - Thank you.