Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 25 March 2010) . . Page.. 1585 ..
history of how it got here but I would like to add one further comment that Mrs Dunne did not touch on. It comes from the role of the code committee. Under the code as it stands, the one that is being sought to be improved with this legislation, the code committee is established. Their sole job is to administer the code.
The attorney, in introducing the legislation, spoke about the shortcomings regarding the lack of enforceability of the code, and they are points that the Greens agree with. But this legislation basically turns that code into law. That is the code that the code committee’s sole job is to administer. So you would assume that that committee would play a central role in the devising of the legislation. Again, Mrs Dunne has touched on this to some extent.
I note that I was provided with something, and I thank the Attorney-General for this. One of the things we insisted on knowing was what the code committee’s view was on this legislation. When this legislation was first scheduled to come on last December, we were told that they had looked at it, and then we found out they had not, when we actually rang some of them. It became a bit of an unclear situation and it reached a point where we put the view to the minister that until we knew the committee had met and discussed it we were not prepared to discuss the legislation.
That has now happened, and I am pleased that is the case. But I was particularly interested in the minutes from the recent meeting of the code committee held on Friday, 12 March 2010. These minutes are provided by Mr Brett Phillips, the chair of the code administration committee. I would like to quote from the minutes. At the beginning of the meeting, under section 1, “meeting opening”, the minutes state:
that is the reason I mentioned his name; he is the chair of the committee and I wanted to put him in context—
said the meeting had been called at short notice as there is a short time frame before the Fair Trading (Motor Vehicle Repair Industry) Bill 2009 comes on for debate in the Legislative Assembly, and he would be unavailable early next week.
This was on 12 March, despite the fact that the legislation was tabled in the Assembly on 19 November. It had been scheduled for debate in at least December and I think tentatively scheduled again in February. I find it very disappointing that this is the way it was conducted. It seems rather unnecessary to have needed an urgent meeting when in fact this had been in play for quite some time.
But, at the end of the day, we have managed to finally have the code committee examine the legislation. It would be fair to say, if one goes on to read the rest of the minutes, that the code committee provides some very useful comments. I appreciate that this meeting was ultimately held, because I think it was a positive contribution to the legislation. I note that the government will be moving amendments which improve the bill, and we support those amendments. I will speak to them in some detail when they come on.