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Mr Speaker, this is legislation which I do not say is in perfect form. It is legislation which, if it is to be advanced, I would expect to undergo a further process of amendment. I would welcome amendment from the Government, which has the full benefit of the consultation process, which I had only the partial benefit of. I would welcome discussion from the Independents and the Greens about perhaps using this as a vehicle to look at environmental rights, which would then mean that we could not only establish the landmark of being the first jurisdiction in Australia to adopt a Bill of Rights but also establish the landmark of being the first in the English-speaking world - although my understanding is that some work has been done in Germany - to elevate environmental rights to the same level as the more traditional civil, economic and political rights. This is legislation that provides a significant opportunity for the ACT to make a constructive input to Australian political debate, and I look forward to working with all parties to bring that to fruition.

MR SPEAKER: The member's time has expired.

MR CONNOLLY: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to present the explanatory memorandum to the Bill.

Leave granted.

MR CONNOLLY: I present the explanatory memorandum.

Debate (on motion by Mr Humphries) adjourned.


MR WOOD (11.07): Mr Speaker, I move:

That there be no change to the administration of commercial leases in the ACT during the life of this Assembly.

Mr Speaker, the motion says “no change”. I wish it were otherwise. I wish that we could return the commercial leases system, the whole leasehold system, to something that it was when it was introduced at the outset of the ACT. If it had been possible to do that, you can be sure that I would have done so when I had the opportunity as Minister. But, having looked at the matter very carefully, I am not sure that we can go back in time and make changes. I will certainly continue to explore those sorts of options.

This motion basically is designed to prevent likely damage to the commercial leasehold system that the Liberals may well be proposing. I am not stuck on the form of words in the motion. My purpose today is mainly to raise the issue to see that it is thoroughly debated. In the election campaign the Government promised to give away part of our heritage. It is proposing to renew commercial leases without cost to the commercial leaseholder. It is proposing to do this, I believe, without assessing whether such a change is needed and without any consideration of the ramifications of such a change.

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