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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 3786..


MR BERRY (continuing):

Earlier this year I was advised of a problem with the Legislative Assembly Precincts Act 2001. The act defines the premises included in the Assembly precincts, makes the Speaker responsible for the control and management of the precincts subject to Assembly directions, and also allows under section 9 for the Speaker to direct a person who is not a member either to leave the precincts or not to enter them.

The act provides that the Speaker may use any necessary and reasonable force and assistance to remove or exclude a person from Assembly precincts. I am happy to say that this is a necessary but rarely used provision of the act. It has a bit of an ominous ring when it says the Speaker may use any necessary and reasonable force. I trust that I am never called upon to do that. That is why there is a need for delegation. This power allows me to direct staff members such as the Clerk or attendants to remove or exclude someone from the precincts. Staff acting under such a direction have immunity provided under the act against civil or criminal liability, provided they are acting honestly and without negligence.

The problem identified is that my power as Speaker cannot be delegated to anyone else. This means that if I am not in the building the power cannot be exercised. I must either give a direction to a person myself or direct a staff member to act. The bill I present today corrects the problem by allowing me to delegate the powers of section 9 to the Assembly's Serjeant-at-Arms or the Principal Attendant. This is a simple and practical amendment which solves a potential problem. I urge members to support the bill.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Full retail competition

MR CORNWELL (10.51): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) calls upon the ACT Government to prepare a proposal to address the impact of Full Retail Competition (FRC) on ACT low-income earners, pensioners and self-funded retirees for electricity consumption following the introduction of FRC on 1 March 2003; and

(2) details of the proposal to address the impact of FRC on these groups be made available to this Assembly in the first sitting week of 2003.

In announcing the introduction of full retail contestability for electricity from 1 March 2003, the Treasurer gave an undertaking to "increase electricity rebate for pensioners and other relevant beneficiaries to reflect percentage increase in their bills". The Treasurer, however, went on to admit that it was "difficult to ensure poor people would not be worse off initially". I welcome the commitment, but I believe that the comments have not gone far enough. Therefore, I would like to see the intervention of the Assembly by way of the motion I have moved.

The problem, as I see it, is twofold. It is unclear who specifically will be helped. I have identified three groups of people I believe need to be helped. We need to assist low-income earners, pensioners and self-funded retirees. The second problem is that we do


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