Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 12 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 3651..
MR HARGREAVES: He suggests that it does not apply. We might have conversations about that later. The government's record in terms of the Administration (Interstate Agreements) Act is not really wild, but I have to congratulate the government on moving significantly towards full compliance with it. I would put it at about 66 per cent at the moment, which is great because when I came into this Assembly the compliance was nil. I think that that is great. I really think that it is terrific and I am sure that the new Chief Minister had a fair bit to do with that. I congratulate him if he did.
When we go to this meeting in February and start talking about how the ACT is leading the country, it would be really nice to be able to give a full case history on the movement from secretive government to some measure of transparency. Interestingly, all of the legislation that has been put forward in this place and passed has come about through private members business. It is significant for a system based on the Westminster system that there is room for a government and an opposition to consider private members business for the good of the parliament. That is what we are talking about and that is what this meeting of chairs and deputy chairs is all about. They are taking radical steps forward in the same way as Mr Moore took a radical step forward with the Administration (Interstate Agreements) Act. I urge members to take a good look at that report and invite members to give me a ring if they want me to brief them or to speak to the Clerk, Mr McRae.
MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs, Attorney - General and Treasurer) (4:03), in reply: Mr Speaker, there have been a lot of fairly hysterical comments made in the course of this debate on the Gaming Machine Amendment Bill. There have been accusations; there have been conspiracies touted; there have been claims of conflict of interest. You name it: it has taken place in the course of this debate. So, Mr Speaker, I want to dispel as clearly as I can some of the misunderstandings that might exist about this legislation and put on the record very clearly what the government sees is the position as the result of this piece of legislation.
First of all, Mr Speaker, it was suggested that what the government is trying to do with this legislation is to suborn the intentions of the clubs and replace them with the intentions of the government with respect to the expenditure of clubs' revenue from poker machines; that the government, in effect, was trying to define what a reasonable community use of the clubs' funds was and to require that the money be spent on the government - defined community purpose.
I have to put on the record absolutely clearly that the legislation we have proposed today deals only with 5 per cent of the net profit of clubs from poker machines, an amount, with respect, that is so small that it could well be argued to be irrelevant to the viability of any club in the ACT. The legislation potentially does not apply to smaller clubs in the ACT if there is a question about such a levy having an impact on their viability.