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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (27 June) . . Page.. 2374..


Mr Moore: On the point of order, Mr Speaker: There is a strong precedent in this Assembly - and Mr Humphries spoke about it earlier today - that suggests that when a committee is looking at an issue the Government should buy out. I think we should be very careful what we do when a committee is looking at an issue, to make sure that they have a fair and reasonable chance to have a look at it. Otherwise, the committee system is going to be undermined.

MR SPEAKER: I have taken advice on this matter, and I am advised that, as Mr Moore pointed out, there is nothing to stop us from proceeding with consideration of the Bill at this point. There have, in fact, been other occasions when matters have been referred to committees but legislation has proceeded. It is entirely up to the Assembly. As the Clerk has pointed out to me, standing order 174 indicates that immediately after a Bill has been agreed to in principle it can be referred to a committee. That could be done right now if it were the wish of the Assembly, but there is certainly nothing to stop the Assembly from debating this legislation now even though the Assembly passed a motion this morning to refer a matter to the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment. The point of order taken by Mr Whitecross is not upheld.

MR BERRY: I move:

That the debate be adjourned.

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Leave granted.

Mrs Carnell: We have done this today. This is a flashback.

MR BERRY: It worked all right. Mr Speaker, Mr Moore has raised an important issue in relation to consideration of this Bill. All of the issues affected by this Bill have been referred to a committee. It strikes me as something of an insult to the committee process for us to be setting in concrete trading hours legislation which in many ways usurps the role of the committee which will be considering the issue in detail. It is also an insult to the community for us to go down that path, because the committee which will be considering the matter will be asking members of the community to come in to consult with them on what the future for trading in the ACT should be. How can we barefacedly ask the community to do that once we have passed this Bill? It strikes me that, having passed the Bill, it would demonstrate the height of arrogance then to go through the pretence that you are consulting with the community about the future of trading in the Territory. I think the Government should take note of that. This Government went to the people with a loud cry about openness, consultativeness, council-style government and all of the other stuff that has dropped off the end since they found themselves in the executive chairs.


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