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This motion starts off by saying that we want a list of organisations and individuals who have been consulted. I can imagine that in many circumstances a lot of individuals, and possibly organisations as well, would not want to be on any list that was presented and tabled in this Assembly but would want to give their input privately. I can imagine that in lots of situations that would be the case. The motion refers next to a list of who undertook the consultation. Why would we need to know that? Ms McRae also wants to know where the consultation took place and when. Does that mean that we are going to have to say, “Thursday, at 10 o'clock, by Joe Bloggs, at such and such a place.”? Quite seriously, this would not help the way this Assembly works. It would slow it down. The absolute classic is paragraph (5), which says “further plans for consultation or feedback that have been made in regard to any possible changes that may be made by the Assembly”. So, if we put a Bill on the table here, Ms McRae wants us to table a plan to handle any changes that the Assembly “may” make to the legislation. Crystal balls are really wonderful things; but I do not think even a crystal ball would be able to tell us what changes the Assembly may make to a piece of legislation, so that we could have in place a plan to handle them. Finally, the motion asks for an explanation if no consultation took place. Quite seriously, that is already handled in this Assembly.
It is interesting that the thing that Ms McRae left out and the thing that is most important and has worked best in this Assembly is the committee process. If this Assembly believes that consultation has not been adequately handled, what happens? The Assembly refers a Bill to a committee; and that committee, in an open forum with everybody present, asks for members of the community and organisations to come forward. It is all on the record, with everybody present. That is the way consultation works best in the Assembly context. When we, and I hope anybody else, decide to come forward with a new piece of legislation we consult widely with all the people who are interested. We put our Bill together, we bring it here and we put it on the table of the Assembly. At that stage people in Canberra and people in this Assembly can input into that Bill. If the Assembly believes that consultation has not happened properly, the Assembly can refer the Bill to a committee, which is an open process available to everybody. Then we have debate in this house, more consultation and more input not just to the Government, not just to the Executive, but to every member of this Assembly; and, through the democratic process that I hope we all support, the Bill is either passed or not passed. I think that is a very appropriate process. It is a flexible process that exists at the moment. It gives everybody in this place capacity to input at whatever level they want, and it certainly ensures that the people of Canberra have a capacity to input into legislation.
Certainly, we support consultation. There is no doubt at all about that. Quite seriously, I would have absolutely no trouble in making available to whoever would like it a list of the people we consult with. In fact, that information is usually made available. I have no problems at all with that, but the rest of this motion would simply slow everything down. It would be self-defeating. I believe that it would be a waste of everybody's time here. It would achieve a cyclic form of consultation that had no end point. I think it would produce consultation fatigue in the community. It would not be consultation that had a point; it would be consultation for the sake of it. We believe that consultation is about being available to the community. As I have already said, my Ministers will be available on a regular basis at community centres. It is about having an obvious way for the