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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (23 June) . . Page.. 2557..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

been withdrawn, and I regard it as a very serious breach of faith in this place and in the way this place operates. On the basis of the undertaking I was given by my government whip, I made arrangements for tonight, which I have cancelled.

I accept that we now rise. I just want to put on the record that I find it a matter of serious concern that, having come to an arrangement, we find it unilaterally broken and withdrawn. I wish to record my concern that clear undertakings and understandings, on the basis of which many of us acted, have been unilaterally withdrawn. These are issues that need to be seriously addressed.

Sitting suspended from 6.31 to 8.00 pm.

Debate interrupted.

Distinguished visitor

MR SPEAKER: I want to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of a former member of the Assembly, Mr Rugendyke.

Making of regulations

Debate resumed.

MRS CROSS (8.00): Mr Speaker, the underlying notion of Mr Smyth's motion this evening centres on the dispute over Assembly power and executive power. The motion is simply seeking to stop the government from making regulations attached to legislation passed in the June, July and August sitting weeks after 16 August. The argument in favour of this is that there is a distinct possibility that there may be up to seven months between when this Assembly last sits and the next Assembly first sits. This would occur if the federal government called an election for 16 October, which would force the ACT election back to 4 December.

Combined with the modern trend to incorporate much of the oomph into regulations rather than into legislation, and the increasing amount of complex legislation being put forward by this government, this would seem to reduce the accountability of the executive if it were allowed to continue to introduce regulations on new legislation that the Assembly may not be able to consider for up to seven months. While I am sure the government will abide by the caretaker convention, and while I am sure the government would not abuse its power to make regulations, it is still important that safeguards exist. It is also important that the elected members of the Assembly have time to consider any regulations implemented by the government.

Mr Stanhope said before dinner that this motion extends to the caretaker period for the government. I do not believe this to be true. The executive can still implement regulations on any act that was not passed in June, July or August this year. It seems entirely reasonable that the Assembly should have time to consider regulations implemented by the executive and then reject these if necessary.

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