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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 1960..


MR WOOD (10.51): The Government has not done anything positive; they have done something rather negative. I move:

That the debate be adjourned.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

LEGAL AFFAIRS - STANDING COMMITTEE
Reference - Legal Assistance to Members

MR OSBORNE (10.52): Mr Speaker, I ask for leave of the Assembly to amend my notice of motion.

Leave granted.

MR OSBORNE: I move:

That the resolution of the Assembly of 20 February 1996, which referred the matter of the development of guidelines for the provision of legal assistance to Members to the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs for inquiry, be amended by omitting "by 30 June 1996".

Mr Speaker, I will be very brief. The Legal Affairs Committee has been looking into the matter of legal assistance to members. Initially, the consensus among committee members was that we would report back. We wrote to all the different parliaments around the country and it took a little bit of time to get responses from both the upper and lower houses. From all the correspondence we received, Mr Speaker, there are no formal guidelines in place anywhere around the country.

It was decided at our last meeting that perhaps the terms of reference we were given required that we look at setting some guidelines. We intend to continue writing to a number of people to have some further input. The suggested revised timeframe is on or before the first sitting day next year, which means that the committee can report as soon as the inquiry is complete. It has taken a little bit longer than expected; but, as you are aware, it is a very sensitive matter and we intend to provide the Assembly with a detailed report and perhaps some guidelines which can be put in place.

Mr Speaker, that basically is the reason for the motion. As I said, we have had some trouble in getting some responses, and we have not had a lot of positive response; so it will take some time to draw up the new guidelines.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


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