Page 4651 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 7 December 1994
Wednesday, 7 December 1994
MADAM SPEAKER (Ms McRae) took the chair at 10.30 am and read the prayer.
POSTPONEMENT OF ORDER OF THE DAY
MR HUMPHRIES (10.31): Madam Speaker, pursuant to standing order 150, I move:
That order of the day No. 1, private members business, relating to the Proportional Representation (Hare-Clark) Entrenchment Bill 1994, be postponed until a later hour this day.
MS FOLLETT (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (10.31): Madam Speaker, I understand that the reason Mr Humphries is seeking to postpone debate on this matter is that his amendments have not been prepared yet. I would make the point that that offers the rest of us in the chamber no opportunity whatsoever actually to get advice on his amendments. I have discussed this matter with Mr Humphries. I know that he has had discussions with the Electoral Commissioner, as I have. I have had advice on Mr Humphries's Bill. Mr Humphries is asking us to take on faith that the amendments that he proposes to introduce at some later stage actually will address the concerns that have been raised. I believe that we are in danger, again, of a very rushed approach to legislation. It would be much wiser if we were to adjourn the matter completely.
MR HUMPHRIES (10.33), in reply: Madam Speaker, it is very regrettable that we have to deal with this matter at short notice. I make the point that it is necessary to do so only because the Government basically has taken its time in getting the essential prerequisite legislation on the table. We could have introduced this Bill before the electoral legislation was on the table or before the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Bill was on the table. The electoral Bill took two years, as I have no need to remind you. The Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Bill was passed just over two weeks ago.
Mr Connolly: But that is just the machinery. You could have been working on the policy details of what you want, and talking to us about it.
MR HUMPHRIES: Yes; we did. We had the Bill ready, apart from that aspect of it. The Bill was ready, except for the other mechanisms. We have done this at short notice, because that is all that we have been given by the Government. It was drafted at great speed; and, I must say, with great diligence on the part of parliamentary counsel. It was introduced in private members business last Wednesday, again at great speed.