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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 2376..


MR GENTLEMAN (continuing):

need to understand the changes that are occurring and the reactions that may arise both in the development of the law and the structure of the society in which we live.

He indicated that we were moving towards the working class poor that we see in the United States of America.

ACT Planning and Land Authority-independence

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.33): I take this opportunity to clarify a few points and to address a few issues that have arisen in this house over the last couple of days. This morning in debate on the disallowance of the Land (Planning and Environment) Regulation I referred to a briefing with a ministerial adviser and an officer from the ACT Planning and Land Authority. It was suggested that this demonstrated that ACTPLA was not as independent as it ought be and that suggestion reflected poorly on the staff involved.

Aside from the issue of the independence of ACTPLA, I think it ought to be clear to all members that such a suggestion was unfounded. As the regulation was made by the minister, the joint briefing by a ministerial adviser and an officer of the agency was appropriate and desirable. I regret any imputation that anyone in the Assembly might have made that any party behaved improperly or inappropriately.

I wish to clarify another issue. If decisions taken yesterday by government members to play around with the expected pattern of private members' business was in retaliation to a perceived attempt by me, as indicated in the Canberra Times and perhaps implied yesterday in this place, to ambush the estimates committee at the end of last week, I would like to set the record straight and make it clear that I did nothing of the sort. That was not my intention, although it is quite a compliment to be told that I did.

I do not believe I did anything of the sort. On Friday, the last scheduled day for committee deliberations, I advised all the members of the committee who were in Canberra of my intentions to move a recommendation later that day at a further, unscheduled meeting that was required because some members of the committee could not agree to some hastily prepared words that I had put together to replace the final draft recommendation, which was opposed by the majority of members of the committee.

As I said, I had put some words together to the effect that the budget would not be passed if the functional review was not publicly released. I gave to every member of the committee a copy of the wording of the draft recommendation. I gave advance notice of my intentions and I then did exactly what I said I would do, so I do not see how that amounts to an ambush. If there was an ambush I believe it occurred on Friday afternoon when Mr Gentleman threw a fit and caused the meeting to be abandoned.

Perhaps it is no surprise that yesterday I became aggrieved when I thought I was being accused of trying to manipulate the committee process. I then responded by interjecting in a fairly boisterous manner. When these sorts of things are happening one often does not realise how unseemly they are. Perhaps the televising of the Assembly would improve the behaviour of all members. Last night I saw myself on television caught in


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