Page 4653 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 7 December 1994

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Mr Humphries: It is your fault that it has taken so long, Mr Lamont.

MR LAMONT: No, it is not. This, Mr Humphries, is a stunt; it is a bit like wearing a bow tie. I suggest that Mr Humphries could have had these matters circulated and properly considered in September; most certainly, in terms of the policy that he has outlined. I would suggest that the most appropriate way for this to be dealt with is for it to be adjourned until his amendments are available and have been capable of assessment as to their effect. I would suggest that the adjournment be permanent.

MR MOORE, by leave: Madam Speaker, if this were almost any other Bill that we were talking about, then we would accept that the arguments being put by Labor would have much more credibility. It is appropriate for us to adjourn this matter, even if this has to be brought back quickly. As far as I am concerned, there is a great bind on this Assembly to ensure that Hare-Clark is entrenched. There is a simple reason for that. There was a clear attempt by the Labor Party to undermine the system and to undermine the referendum result that was part of the wish of the people of Canberra. To her great credit, the Chief Minister withdrew the above-the-line voting. We have heard, even in recent days, some members of the Labor Party saying that they would like to reinstitute above-the-line voting. I believe that, as an Assembly, we have a responsibility to ensure that prior to the close of business on Thursday we get this right. If we do not manage to entrench it by Thursday, then the Assembly should be recalled to ensure that we do get it right. Whatever the case, the Electoral Commissioner ought to have as much time as he possibly can.

I accept what Mr Humphries is saying, because I have discussed this matter with him time and again. We had to wait for the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Bill to go through this house. Now is the time to consider this as carefully as we possibly can and with as much time as possible. To that extent, I agree with Mr Lamont. Within those parameters, it must be done. As far as I am concerned, if nothing else were done by this Assembly prior to our rising, I would be satisfied. The highest priority must be given to this matter. We ought to deal with it as best we can. If that means an adjournment until this afternoon, then that is fine by me.

MR STEVENSON, by leave: If the proposer of a Bill wishes to have it put off, that is a reasonable request.

MR HUMPHRIES: Pursuant to standing order 47, I would like to make some further comments. Mr Lamont made reference to the fact that this Bill could have been tabled much earlier than it was. That simply is not true. It is not referred to by name in the Bill, but this Bill relies heavily on the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Bill that was passed just over two weeks ago. It could not operate unless that Bill had been passed. For example, there is nothing in this Bill about the question that we put to the electorate; when the referendum will be held; who will propose the Yes and No cases; how the campaign will be conducted; or the form of the ballot paper. None of those things are in the Bill, because we rely for those matters on the provisions of the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Bill. Therefore, it would not have been possible to do this one moment before the Assembly passed that Bill. My Bill was commissioned before that Bill was passed, but it was not possible to get onto seriously drafting it until that had happened.

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