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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 3 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 684..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Mr Speaker, it is important that the doubt that has arisen be clarified, and I propose an amendment to the Pharmacy Amendment Act 2001 to postpone its commencement until 1 June 2002 to give the government time to explore the issues thoroughly. It might be said that the government has had five months to explore this issue; however, the issue was only brought to my attention on Tuesday of this week.

One inquiry I will be making is about why no-one raised this before this week. The fact remains that I have had only 48 hours notice of the issue. My office acted as quickly as possible to give the opposition and the crossbench notice of the problem and of the need for time to give proper consideration to the solutions.

The possible solutions range across a wide spectrum from "My advice is incorrect and the act will commence on 1 June 2002 with no problems" to "There may be no solution other than Commonwealth legislation to amend the self-government act to permit the Assembly greater power to regulate the ACT's affairs," in which case pharmacists will have to wait before reaping the benefit of the legislation.

Whatever the solution, delay in commencement of the act from 24 March 2002 to 1 June 2002 will allow us time to fully clarify the powers available to the territory under the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988. Delayed commencement will also protect pharmacists who may otherwise rely on the act to structure their corporate and business arrangements.

Simply introducing this bill today will obviously not be sufficient; the bill must pass all stages today to have any effect. I am grateful to the members of the scrutiny of bills committee that this will be considered by them. I am hoping they will be able to do that. I am now informed that the scrutiny of bills committee is reviewing this matter at half past 12 today, and I am grateful that they are able to respond in such a timely matter. I look forward to members' assistance in seeking a solution to this issue.

Debate (on motion by Ms Tucker ) adjourned.

MR SPEAKER: The question now is:

That the resumption of the debate be made an order of the day for the next sitting.

Mr Smyth: No, to later this day, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Somebody will have to move an amendment.

Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker-

MR SPEAKER: It has to be to the next sitting, to be in accordance with the standing orders. If you wish to move to suspend standing orders at a later time today, that course is open to you.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


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