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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (29 March) . . Page.. 1160..


Questions without notice

Assembly/executive-separation of powers

MR STANHOPE: My question is to the Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services. Can the minister tell the Assembly whether he has asked his department to implement the resolution of the Assembly on Tuesday calling on the government to bring forward the expiry date of the enterprise agreements covering the employment of nurses at Canberra Hospital and in ACT Community Care?

MR MOORE: Thank you for the question, Mr Stanhope. I have spoken to the chief executive of the Canberra Hospital, and I have spoken to the chief executive of Community Care. I have indicated to them that the government will not be complying with that motion of the Assembly.

MR STANHOPE: Can the Minister explain to the Assembly why he has chosen to disregard the decision of the Assembly in this way, and does he regard himself as in contempt of the Assembly's wishes?

MR MOORE: No, I do not consider myself in contempt of the Assembly, for a number of reasons. First of all, on Monday night, cabinet being aware of the proposed motion, made a decision that it was not acceptable, even if it was passed through the Assembly. So it was not a decision taken by me; it was a decision taken as part of cabinet.

Rosemary Follett set the standard in the Assembly. On many occasions she said, "I will listen to a motion of the Assembly. I will take it very seriously." This government takes motions of the Assembly very seriously. But to be bound by a motion of the Assembly is not acceptable, because the executive has responsibilities. Members would recognise the importance of the separation of powers. We have the responsibility to deal with this. We considered the motion that was passed by the Assembly and consider that it is an unacceptable way to deal with industrial relations. It is simply unacceptable to the government. This is the responsibility of the executive, not the responsibility of the Assembly.

Do we take advice from the Assembly on such matters? Very seriously. In this case, having taken the advice of the Assembly, we have dismissed it as an inappropriate way to conduct industrial relations.

Open-air fires

MR HIRD: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services, Mr Smyth. Can the minister advise the parliament of what the Environment Protection Regulations say in relation to open-air fires?

MR SMYTH: Yes, I can. Regulation 12 of the Environment Protection Act provides that a person shall not cause combustible material to be burnt or to cause a fire to be lit, used or maintained in the open air. Oddly enough, there are penalties against that. If an offender is a natural person or a real person, there is a penalty of five penalty units.


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