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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 6 Hansard (7 June) . . Page.. 1843..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

I will be writing to the commonwealth Attorney-General this afternoon, asking him to detail the particulars of the commonwealth's objections and which clauses or clause of the civil unions legislation should be amended, in his view, to make it acceptable to the commonwealth. I think it is incumbent upon him to do that.

Of course, the other issue which the government has regard for is the role of his Excellency, the Governor-General. Members would be aware that there is provision in our standing orders to make an address to the Governor-General on matters of concern to the Assembly. I can foreshadow to members that I will be proposing as a priority, first thing tomorrow morning, that this Assembly make an address to the Governor-General outlining our concerns and asking the Governor-General to have regard for his powers under the self-government act to seek and request amendments of this Assembly. That is a more constructive and appropriate approach than that which has been suggested to date by the commonwealth, which is simply to disallow the legislation.

Thirdly, I can indicate to members that I have sought advice from the Department of Justice and Community Safety as to at what point the civil unions legislation can be commenced. I anticipate that, following that advice, I will be in a position to bring forward the commencement date of the Civil Unions Act to a period some time within the next one to two weeks. That will permit Canberrans to move to apply for a civil union here in the ACT. It is the government's view that this legislation should be made available to Canberrans.

We all know what the commonwealth government has announced and we all know that the commonwealth government is seeking to overturn this legislation, but we still believe that there are members of our community who are interested in taking advantage of the provisions of this law. I will move to make those provisions available to members of our community as soon as possible. That may entail an amendment to the civil unions legislation in relation to the notification period for civil unions to be entered into and I will be providing further advice to the Assembly on that matter shortly.

Health-funding

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, the Chief Minister has said a number of times over the last couple days that the budget for ACT Health has been increased by $41 million. In addition, minister, in budget paper No 2, page 12, paragraph 3, the Chief Minister says that the ACT budget "also allocates to health provisions previously accounted for at a whole of government level". Minister, what are these provisions? What is the value of these provisions?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Smyth for the question. I will take part of that question on notice. I have not completely recorded to memory every aspect of the Chief Minister's budget speech. He will have to forgive me for that. I have heard it a number of times, but I have not recorded all of it to memory. I will get back to you on that. I imagine I can do that before the end of today.

In relation to the health budget, there is significant investment in this year's budget, an acknowledgement by the government of the priorities that we place in providing a top-rate health system to members of the ACT community. I do not think anyone in this


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