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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 1985..


MS TUCKER

(continuing):

I would also like to make a brief comment on the interpretation of the boundaries of a "premises". Some might suggest that "premises"should only be understood in this example as the part of the pool complex proposed to be occupied by the social or sports club. However, taking the example of liquor licence considerations of bars, for one, the premises is clearly the entire building, with the bar area-the area to be licensed-only one small part of it. In the particular case of the pool, the government has permitted and agreed to an entire pool complex, with the later inclusion of various other developments. The concept on the website for the pool's developers is clearly as an integrated whole.

I urge members to consider this bill and to consider my request that this bill be considered urgent. In the words of the ACTCOSS president, it is "untenable that the government would now consider allowing a swimming centre to have a licensed club on site". If we don't pass this amendment, it will be very difficult for the commission to find a legal basis to refuse to issue the licence.

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

Bushfire Inquiry (Protection of Statements) Amendment Bill 2003 (No 2)

Ms Tucker , pursuant to notice, presented the bill.

Title read by acting clerk.

MS TUCKER

(11.04): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

My initial position on the government review of agencies response to the January bushfires was that a formal inquiry under the Inquiries Act was not necessary. However, as things evolved in February and March and as it became clear that the McLeod report would not include public hearings, and other details of the process emerged, I changed my view and did support there being a full inquiry under the Inquiries Act. The opposition at that time was raising questions of witnesses not coming forward or being overly restrained in what they would say for fear of defamation action. The Bushfire Inquiry (Protection of Statements) Act is the product of those concerns.

I was, however, particularly concerned when earlier the government introduced into the Assembly statements from government agencies to the McLeod inquiry, seemingly in order to give them parliamentary privilege. Now the government has put before us a bill to amend the bushfire inquiry act. I asked the clerk for advice when it was introduced, because I was concerned that once again the line between legislature and executive was being blurred. The clerk's advice reaffirmed my concerns about using parliamentary privilege to provide protection for a report that is commissioned by the executive. The clerk's advice also raised the possibility that such protection would interfere with other legal processes further down the track.

While government has argued that it can solve the problems identified in the legal advice in its own way-by amending its bill-it seemed judicious to be absolutely sure that there are no issues of contamination, as it were; that the Assembly and the executive are


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