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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3502..


Detail stage

Clauses 1 to 3, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Clause 4.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts) (5.43): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 3547].

In my response earlier, I went into some detail on the government's position in relation to the two substantive issues which Mr Stefaniak raises in his bill. The first of those matters is that the bill's implementation should be delayed until March next year. I have indicated that the government does not support that. We understand some of the arguments that led to Mr Stefaniak's position. I have indicated that the government is prepared to respond by extending for five weeks to 1 October the commencement of the legislation. The only argument that has been put by the opposition in supporting a midway extension to 1 January is the fact that the government goes into the caretaker period in a few weeks time. I simply cannot understand or accept that that has any relevance whatsoever in relation to the commencement of this piece of legislation.

You could run all sorts of arguments about consultation, readiness et cetera. I do not think any of those arguments has been substantiated. The only argument now being presented to support this, effectively, is that the fact that the government will be in a caretaker period somehow would impact on the capacity for the legislation to commence from 1 October. I do not think any cogent argument has been made to suggest that the government should change its position in relation to this, and we will not be doing so.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (5.45): I think the point that has been missed by the Chief Minister is that the reason you should extend it to 1 January is that, if the consultation process with the regulations brings to light other problems—and I cited a number of problems that the legal profession have already briefed me on, and I gather Mr Stefaniak has had similar concerns raised with him—there would be no capacity for the territory government to change this act in that time frame because this place will not be sitting.

If we were to have a commencement date of 1 January, there will be at least one sitting of the Assembly before Christmas for the purpose of the swearing-in of members and so forth, and there would be that vehicle available to address some of the deficiencies that I am being advised by the legal profession do exist and which will not be able to be remedied if you have a 1 October commencement.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (5.46): I move the amendment circulated in my name [see schedule 2 at page 3547].

I reiterate what I said earlier about that. I do think there is a very real problem. I reiterate what I said about the shortness of time. I appreciate the fact that there is now


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