Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2245..
The Assembly voted-
Ayes 7 Noes 6 Mrs Burke Mr Rugendyke Mr Berry Ms Tucker Mr Cornwell Mr Smyth Mr Corbell Mr Hird Mr Hargreaves Mr Humphries Mr Kaine Mr Osborne Mr QuinlanQuestion so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Motion, as amended, agreed to
Proposed credit reforms-submission to Ministerial Council on Consumer Affairs
MR RUGENDYKE (9.32): I move:
That the Assembly recommends that the Attorney-General:
(1) takes the Fair Trading Amendment Bill 2001, which proposes to compel credit providers to conduct a satisfactory assessment process prior to approving credit contracts or credit limit increases, to the Ministerial Council of Consumer Affairs meeting in Canberra on 13 July 2001 and:
(2) moves a motion to have the reforms proposed in the bill to be incorporated in the Uniform Consumer Credit Code under the Australian Uniform Credit Laws Agreement 1993; and
(3) seeks permission from the Ministerial Council for the ACT to gazette the bill if passed by the Legislative Assembly until such a time that the reforms for credit card limit increases in the Uniform Consumer Credit Code are implemented.
I move this motion today, mindful of the standing orders, with the intention of debating the process of dealing with the nominated bill rather than the content and detail of the nominated bill. I bring this motion to the chamber today with a certain amount of frustration due to the restrictions placed on us by the beast otherwise known as the Australian Uniform Credit Laws Agreement 1993.
There is a wider debate to be had on this topic. But, in summary, I have received advice from government officials that the ACT would be in breach of the uniform agreement if we pressed ahead with the proposed legislation. If the Assembly were to pass and implement this legislation, I am told that the ACT would stand to lose representation on the Ministerial Council on Consumer Affairs, which is chaired by the territory's fair trading minister.
I find it quite extraordinary that the Assembly is shackled from pursuing a proposal that is consistent with present credit laws and does appear to have general support. The question has to be asked: is it the Legislative Assembly that is charged with making laws in the ACT or is it this quasi-political council? I understand why there is agreement to have consistency. But I am quite astounded that the agreement prevents the Assembly