Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 12 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 3649..
Mr HUMPHRIES (continuing):
of where the line actually is today because of that blurring that has gone on. However, members need to be aware when and why that line has been blurred. Until today it has been the position that inquiries and royal commissions have been initiated only by the executive. In effect, today they are initiated at the behest of the Assembly. That might be an appropriate transition to make. I have argued against it.
Mr Wood: Most royal commissions in other places come about because of sustained pressure in the parliament.
Mr HUMPHRIES: I welcome that interjection, Mr Speaker. It is quite true that they do come about as a result of sustained concern, often in parliament, but never on the basis that the government's hand is to be forced, never on the basis that the parliament forces the government's hand to appoint such an inquiry.
Mr Wood: I can't discern the difference.
MR HUMPHRIES: I am unaware of such a precedent, Mr Speaker, and I would be happy for Mr Wood to table any precedent of that kind he can find. As I say, I do not argue that this is a totally inappropriate outcome. As a person who one day may serve again on the opposition benches, I believe that there is some merit in such a precedent being set. But I think that the point has to be made extremely clearly that it has been said that, having once had this tin prised open, it will not again be closed and sealed up.
Mr Speaker, I thank members for their comments. I think that I have discerned, despite the disagreement, that there is a view that this inquiry should go ahead, that it should examine the issues that have been raised in the terms of reference, and that that there is some hopefulness on the part of members that we will see next May a comprehensive analysis of the issues in this area. I certainly expect that from an inquirer as professional as the Hon John Gallop.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
MR OSBORNE: I present the following paper:
Justice and Community Safety - Standing Committee (incorporating the duties of a Scrutiny of Bills and Subordinate Legislation Committee) - Scrutiny Report No 15 of 2000, dated 5 December 2000.
I ask for leave to make a statement.
MR OSBORNE: Scrutiny Report No 15 of 2000 contains the committee's comments on 16 bills and 65 subordinate laws. I commend the report to the Assembly.