LegCo Paper No. HB 149/95-96
Ref : HB/H/5

Legislative Council House Committee
(1995/96 Session)

Minutes of special meeting held in the LegCo Chamber
of the Legislative Council Building
on Friday, 10 November 1995 at 5:05 p.m.

Present :

    Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
    Hon Martin LEE, QC, JP
    Hon SZETO Wah
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip
    Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
    Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
    Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
    Dr Hon YEUNG Sum
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, OBE, JP
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
    Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
    Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
    Hon LAW Chi-kwong
    Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
    Hon LO Suk-ching
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing
    Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

Absent :

    Hon Allen LEE, CBE, JP
    Dr Hon David K P LI, OBE, LLD (Cantab), JP
    Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, OBE, JP
    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Hon Edward S T HO, OBE, JP
    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
    Hon CHIM Pui-chung
    Dr Hon HUANG Chen-ya, MBE
    Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
    Hon James TO Kun-sun
    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
    Hon CHAN Wing-chan
    Hon CHAN Yuen-han
    Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
    Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
    Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
    Hon David CHU Yu-lin
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Hon LAU Chin-shek
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
    Hon LEE Kai-ming
    Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
    Hon MOK Ying-fan
    Hon Margaret NG
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP

In attendance :

    ASG2 (Clerk to the House Committee)









The Chairman said that the purpose of the special meeting was to discuss in detail Mr Martin LEE’s proposal on the committee system. To facilitate discussion, the Secretariat had prepared a paper explaining the existing operation of Legislative Council Bills Committees and Panels (LegCo Paper No. HB 109/95-96). The Chief Secretary had been advised of the proposal and indicated that the Administration would offer its comments after listening to Members’ views on the proposal.

2. Mr Martin LEE said that the primary objectives of his proposal were to improve the efficiency of the Council, to avoid duplication of efforts of the Bills Committees and Panels, and to ensure that the Administration would consult Members before formulation of any policies. He had discussed his proposal with various Members and political parties, and taking into account their views, he had reconsidered his original proposal and come to the view that improvement measures could be introduced to the existing system without changing it. For example, the Administration could establish a standard practice of briefing Panels at an early stage before the implementation of government business in policy, legislation or finance. This would improve communication between the Council and the Administration and enhance efficiency. He would prepare a paper on his revised proposal for Members’ consideration.

3. Mrs Selina CHOW welcomed Mr Martin LEE’s suggestion to improve the existing system without changing it fundamentally. The existing system was particularly suitable for independent Members.

4. Mr Ronald ARCULLI said that instead of being responsive to the suggestions by Panels, the Administration should adopt a more proactive approach by briefing Panels on new policy initiatives, irrespective of whether they would lead to financial and legislative proposals which would ultimately require the approval of LegCo. On the other hand, he pointed out that while all Members would have the opportunity to consider, in the House Committee, legislative proposals introduced into the Council, some Members, especially those who did not belong to any grouping, would have difficulty keeping track of all the policy issues discussed by the Panels. He suggested that consideration should be given to how all Members could be kept informed.

5. Dr YEUNG Sum said that Mr Martin LEE’s original proposal was modelled on a similar proposal put forward by the Chairman in 1991. In view of the criticisms against the proposal, i.e. the proposed system was inflexible as Members not belonging to a Panel might not be able to participate fully in the study of bills in which they were interested; Panels would be given too much power in summoning witnesses; and there was no apparent reason to introduce changes to the existing system, Members of the Democratic Party had agreed to reconsider the proposal.

6. Ms Emily LAU said that while she supported Mr Martin LEE’s original proposal, she would have no objection to the continued operation of the existing system, subject to the Administration’s undertaking to consult Members before the formulation of any policies.

7. Mr SZETO Wah suggested instituting a mechanism whereby non-Panel Members could be informed of issues to be discussed by Panels so that they could attend the relevant meetings if they so wished.

8. Mr Frederick FUNG Kin-kee said that he and other Members had considered Mr Martin LEE’s proposal in detail and decided to support it. He was disappointed with the withdrawal of the proposal as he felt that the reservations expressed by some Members could be addressed with certain modifications to the original proposal.

9. The Chairman advised Members that his proposal in 1991 had been made against the background that the OMELCO system was still in place. With the subsequent separation of the membership of the two Councils, LegCo now operated in a different way to carry out its functions. If Members concurred with Mr LEE’s revised proposal to introduce measures to improve the existing system instead of changing it, any improved system could be implemented much quicker.

10. Mr Martin LEE said that he would prepare and circulate a draft paper on his revised proposal to all Members for comments. Thereafter, he would prepare a paper incorporating Members’ views and pass it to the Subcommittee on Procedural Matters for consideration before submitting to the House Committee for endorsement.

11. The meeting was adjourned at 5:35 p.m.

Legislative Council Secretariat
23 November 1995

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