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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 11 Hansard (19 September) . . Page.. 3479..


When it comes to Mr Hanson's comments, let me offer a few brief remarks. He was concerned to see that these matters were being played out in the Assembly. The bottom line is that there is some disagreement between me and the ALP on these matters. We do have a different view, and I think that is perfectly healthy. The parliamentary agreement certainly envisages those situations, and in some ways Mr Hanson should be pleased, because there is an opportunity for him to have a role in working out which way these matters should fall. Again, that is what parliaments are supposed to do. They are supposed to debate the merits of issues, and the fact that these amendments have come to the Assembly is a healthy thing.

The other thing I would say is that on numerous occasions the Greens have offered the Liberal Party briefings and discussion on this legislation. From back when Mr Seselja was still in the Attorney-General's shadow portfolio right through to recently, we have repeatedly offered briefings and discussion opportunities so we could ask, "Look, is there something you would like to do differently?"For Mr Hanson to walk in here today and make some assertions about this being last minute, being rushed, is really a reflection of his own behaviour.

That is how the Liberal Party operates. They come in here at 9 o'clock or whatever time they have their party meeting and go: "What are we going to do today? We had better sort out a position on these issues."We know that because of how often we cannot find out what the Liberal Party is doing until after their party room meeting in the morning. They do not think about something in advance. There is no advance canvassing; there is no ability to engage in discussion. Mr Hanson—through you, Madam Speaker—if you had actually had a briefing over the many previous occasions in the last few weeks, we would have run you through these matters. The fact that you cannot switch your focus on until less than 24 hours before an event is not our problem; it is yours.

In summary, these amendments are not supported by the evidence and they are a step away from the benefits that the bill is intended to bring. Particularly in relation to amendments that exclude certain decisions and certain groups, I would like to stress my opposition to those amendments. However, for the benefit of getting the bill through today, I understand that the changes that will come about as a result of this bill, even in its amended form, are good outcomes for the community. It will enable more people in the community to come forward and to be able to challenge administrative decisions, to have judicial review. That can only be a healthy thing for the quality of governance in the territory and for democracy in the territory.

Overall, I think we have made good progress today. I particularly thank the Attorney-General and his staff for working with me and my office to find ground where we could move forward. We may not agree on all of the details, but nonetheless we are doing something very good here today that citizens in Canberra who feel aggrieved by government decisions will appreciate. They will have an opportunity to have their day in court. They may or may not win, but we will be a better territory for these changes.

MADAM SPEAKER: Before we proceed I would like the guidance of the Assembly. It is now 23 minutes before 1 o'clock. We normally adjourn at 12.30. I know that


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