Speech at Finance Committee

Motion moved by the Deputy Chairman under Rule 71(13) of the Rules of Procedure

The Deputy Chairman moved that the Motion to amend the Procedures in the Appendix to the Agenda be passed.

The Deputy Chairman advised that, on the instruction of the FC Chairman earlier, the Secretariat reviewed areas of the Procedures which might warrant amendments with a view to aligning with the procedures in RoP and the House Rules (“HR”), improving the clarity of provisions, reflecting current practices and ensuring orderly, efficient and fair disposition of the business of FC and its two subcommittees. Subsequently, the Secretariat, on the instruction of the Chairman, issued papers to and consulted members on the two batches of proposed amendments to the Procedures. The outcome of the consultation showed that an overwhelming majority of members supported all proposed amendments. In light of the consultation outcome, the Chairman decided to present the two batches of proposed amendments in the form of a motion (i.e. the Motion moved by the Deputy Chairman) for FC’s consideration in one go.

The Deputy Chairman advised that the main proposals of the Motion included: (a) specifying a procedure for a subcommittee to recommend and for FC to decide whether an item already endorsed by the subcommittee should again be discussed in FC; (b) specifying a procedure for FC to exercise power to summon persons concerned to testify or give evidence; (c) removing the procedure for moving motions to express views on an agenda item at a meeting; (d) specifying explicitly the power of the Chairman to regulate the process of meetings, including the power to set time limits on the consideration of agenda items or motions; and (e) in light of the amendments to the election procedures of the House Committee and some other committees, specifying a new set of similar procedure for the respective elections of chairman and deputy chairman of FC and its subcommittees.

The Deputy Chairman further said that the Chairman of the Committee on Rules of Procedure (“the CRoP Chairman”) would move a proposed resolution at the Legislative Council (“LegCo”) meeting on 20 October 2021 to amend certain provisions of RoP, including specifying that starting from the Seventh LegCo, all Members other than the President might choose to join FC which would consist of not less than 50 members. The Motion currently moved by him also included related amendments to the Procedures (including the procedure for signification of membership of FC). Subject to the passage of the Motion, the amendments to the Procedures would come into operation on the day on which the Seventh LegCo would begin, while the amendments related to membership of FC would only come into operation if the relevant amendments to RoP were passed by LegCo.

The Deputy Chairman stressed that, on the one hand, the amendments proposed by the Motion aimed to align the Procedures with the procedures in RoP and HR; and also to prevent abuse of the Procedures; the remaining proposals were technical amendments only. He appealed to other members to support the Motion.

The Deputy Chairman speaking in reply in respect of the Motion

After all members who wished to speak had spoken on the motion, the Chairman invited the Deputy Chairman to speak in reply in respect of the Motion. The Deputy Chairman advised that the amendment of the Procedures should take into account factors such as whether the amendments could ensure effective operation of FC and its subcommittees, and whether they were in line with public expectation for the legislature. He believed that the proposed amendments currently put forward could enable FC and its subcommittees to operate more smoothly. He once again appealed to members to support the Motion.